May 09, 2008 10:51 ET

VHA Inc. Unveils New Supplier Diversity Program to Help Members Purchase Services From Local Suppliers

IRVING, TX--(Marketwire - May 9, 2008) - VHA Inc., the national healthcare alliance, has introduced its new Supplier Diversity program at its annual Leadership Conference in Philadelphia. This program will help members establish new supplier diversity programs and enhance their organization's existing programs. It will also expand member access beyond products offered by Novation, VHA's contracting services company, to include a variety of services from local veteran, minority-owned and under-utilized women-owned businesses.

"When you have an economically healthy community, you have a healthy hospital," said Lamont Robinson, director, business development and supplier diversity at VHA. "Supplier diversity allows hospitals to improve the communities they serve by supporting their local economies. Pursuing supplier diversity has become a smart, revenue-generating business imperative that helps our hospital members and their local communities."

To qualify as a diversity supplier, a company must be at least 51 percent owned by its represented minority ownership that includes, but is not limited to, women, veterans or service-disabled veterans.

Our three-year-old program "Continued to open the door of opportunity for inclusive and innovative supply chain practices that offered minority and women-owned businesses an opportunity to come to the table," said Lisa Woodard, director of supplier management at Baylor Health Care System in Dallas, and a member of VHA. "Our supplier diversity program brought even more value and change in our supply base. As the doors of opportunity open for all suppliers, the competition brings greater value overall to Baylor."

VHA has recently joined the National Minority Supplier Development Council. This organization bridges the gap between large organizations and minority-owned companies. VHA members can tap the NMSDC to source diverse suppliers in specific regional markets and to network with other supplier diversity professionals.

VHA has also created a supplier diversity best practices check list. This list assists members in developing new programs and helps members appraise potential minority service providers in important areas including financial stability, quality service and customer focus.

About VHA Inc. - VHA Inc. is a national alliance of leading not-for-profit health care organizations that work together to improve the health of the communities they serve. VHA delivers industry-leading supply chain management services and enables regional and national member networks to improve clinical and operational performance, and drive sustainable results. Based in Irving, Texas, VHA has 16 local offices serving more than 1,400 hospitals and 21,000 non-acute health care organizations across the United States.

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