"You could have a sham deal where person is the minority lead," Connelly says, "but how much is really happening for the community with that person?"
To weed out that activity, CHP follows best practices developed from Procter & Gamble and healthcare powerhouses like Kaiser to encourage and qualify minority contractors.
How diverse is the contractors' workforce? Those and other qualifications can be measured, and are, in CHP's calculations. CHP has a diversity council which Connelly chairs, for its management and staff. That group's interest in diverse spending goals led to collection of data on how best to improve, thanks to advice from a retired P&G executive who comes from one of a group of large corporations that have achieved a billion dollars in diversity spending.
That executive made a compelling pitch to CHP about involving other Cincinnati and regional hospitals in rallying around this initiative. "The Cincinnati Health Council became the vehicle," says Connelly.
Hospitals and health systems in the area sponsored a diversity supplier symposium. Now in its fourth year, it brings together vendors and national public speakers to help women- and minority-owned businesses compete.
"No one likes to see disparity," he says, "so having a win-win that advances quality and lower costs, and reduces disparity is very rewarding."