Hospitals Embracing Identity Politics in Selection of Outside Vendors

2024-04-10 08:30:29

The intersection of health care and social justice is becoming more common. It’s a disturbing trend.

From the Washington Free Beacon:

Minority Contracting Comes to Medicine

When public hospitals purchase medical equipment or rely on outside doctors, they typically consider the price and quality of each vendor.

In Tarrant County, Texas, they consider something else, too: the race and gender of the vendor’s owners.

Tarrant County’s public hospital system, JPS Health, evaluates bids for contracts on a 100-point scale that gives more weight to “diversity and inclusion” (15 points) than to the reputation of a vendor’s goods and services (10 points) when assessing providers of transcatheter heart valves—devices used to counteract cardiac failure and keep blood flowing throughout the body.

It uses similar weights to select outside providers of cancer screenings. Price and quality receive 20 points each, according to a procurement request reviewed by the Washington Free Beacon, while diversity receives 15, enough to make up for major deficits in other areas. Minority-owned firms earn the 15 points automatically, the criteria state. Other firms are scored on their use of minority subcontractors, measured as a percent of the total contract value they receive.

JPS is just the latest health provider to integrate race into its procurement policies, balancing the cost and quality of life-saving services against the demographics of the firm providing them. 

Inova Health Systemthe University of Virginia Medical Center, and the University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center have all issued requests for proposals that incorporate race. Others, such as Mount Sinai Health System, tout their record on “supplier diversity.”

The trend, critics say, which encompasses grant-making as well as contracting, threatens to undermine competent and cost-effective care in a country that already has the highest health care expenditures in the world. It comes amid a glut of diversity programs that have roiled the medical establishment, from affirmative action in medical schools to the allocation of COVID drugs based on race.


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