Business Spotlight

AmeriHealth Caritas: Building a Stronger Economy, Community Through Supplier Diversity

Summer 2019 Catalyst

A leading health care company committed to serving those most in need, AmeriHealth Caritas embraces its role as a mission-driven organization that nurtures opportunities for overall health and wellness. With more than 5 million members in 11 states and the District of Columbia, the Philadelphia-based company, which is led by Chairman and Chief Executive Officer Paul Tufano, has more than 35 years of experience serving low-income and chronically ill populations.

 

A major focus of AmeriHealth Caritas’ work is identifying and eliminating the social determinants of health — those conditions where people live, learn and work that affect health risks and outcomes. In addition, AmeriHealth Caritas — which serves 815,000 members throughout the Commonwealth — is taking innovative approaches to developing and promoting supplier diversity. 

 

In 2018, 41 percent of the company’s $123 million investment in Pennsylvania goods and services went to companies owned by women, people of color, veterans and people with disabilities. Its Mentor Protégé Program is helping diverse businesses get access to tools and training that create opportunities for economic growth, not just for the business owners but for the communities where they live. In fact, since 2013, AmeriHealth Caritas has increased diverse business procurement by 118 percent.

 

“Supporting these businesses is just one piece of our company-wide commitment to addressing the social determinants that impact the health of entire communities,” said AmeriHealth Caritas’ Vice President and Chief Procurement Officer Chad Goodwin. “When our suppliers succeed, they not only reflect our ability to identify and partner with quality businesses, but they, in turn, create opportunities for economic growth and hope in their own communities.”

 

Ron Baldwin, AmeriHealth Caritas’ director of Supplier Management and Diversity, leads the company’s Mentor Protégé Program, which officially started in 2012 after two years of informal mentoring of suppliers. Through this program, the company provides regular, one-on-one consultation to suppliers with the aim of improving their performance for the company while helping them position themselves to generate business outside of AmeriHealth Caritas. Goodwin and Baldwin recently sat with two of the program’s most successful small business partners — CI Solutions, a Philadelphia-based commercial interiors business owned by Shawn Gibbons, and the Mendoza Group, Inc., a Media, PA-based multicultural marketing agency owned by Mia Mendoza.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Since becoming a supplier of office furniture for AmeriHealth Caritas in 2011, CI Solutions has seen revenue growth of more than 400 percent, allowing Gibbons’ company to support various charities focusing on adoption, food insecurity and housing instability. For Mendoza, whose business provides translation and marketing services to AmeriHealth Caritas, the relationship has yielded huge gains. The business has grown from eight employees in 2010 to 36 in 2019, a growth that has allowed the Mendoza Group to secure additional clients domestically and abroad while seeing 25 percent or higher revenue increases in each of the last few years.

 

Baldwin, Gibbons, Goodwin and Mendoza share their views on AmeriHealth Caritas’ commitment to diversity and its impact on economic and social development in communities throughout Pennsylvania.

 

Q&A with AmeriHealth Caritas Business Leaders

 

Why should supplier diversity matter to a health care company?

Ron Baldwin (RB): Supplier diversity supports our mission to build healthy communities and it’s in line with one of our core values — diversity. Our supplier diversity should reflect the communities we serve.

 

Chad Goodwin (CG): Our mission is to improve the health status of communities and empower those who are economically disadvantaged. Our response to that mission needs to be multi-dimensional. Diversifying our supplier base goes a long way in creating healthier, more whole communities.

 

How is AmeriHealth Caritas’ Mentor Protégé Program delivering results for suppliers?

Shawn Gibbons (SG): For the last nine years, I’ve been mentored by (AmeriHealth Caritas) executives, something that shows me there is a commitment to help small business that is honored from the top down. I really view AmeriHealth Caritas as a partner that pushes me to be my best. There are so many small business owners who don’t get a chance to meet with people in the C-suite, but I’m able to regularly meet with many executives who want to see me and my business grow. The more I learn, the more I’m able to grow and hire more people. That’s a blessing.

 

Mia Mendoza (MM): We’re a smarter company because of our partnership with AmeriHealth Caritas. I’ve become a better leader and the people we employ are in position to become better because of what we’re learning from this program and the opportunities gained through this business relationship. I can easily pick up the phone and call Ron or [AmeriHealth Caritas Executive Vice President Steve Bohner] and share my thoughts or get advice. They’ve been trusted counselors, teachers and supporters. That’s the beauty of the mentorship program. It’s not relegated to just one person, but rather several people who want to see you succeed.

 

How does AmeriHealth Caritas’ Mentor Protégé Program work?

RB: This program has really created a unique partnership between our suppliers and us. We hold regular check-ins with our suppliers over the phone and in person. We make sure that a variety of executives are available to offer advice, feedback and insight on what’s working well and what can be done to make things better for our suppliers, which in turn increases overall productivity.

 

CG: We know there are many barriers for small business owners, so we see this program as an excellent way to invest in those suppliers who need a little support to take their business to the next level. We issue Supplier Report Cards that give a regular evaluation of the elements of their performance.

 

How is AmeriHealth Caritas’ commitment to supplier diversity impacting the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania?

CG: Our work boosts the local economy through our direct spend with diverse suppliers which produces higher tax revenues in their communities. Additionally, there’s the opportunity for more money to make its way into local communities because more people have take-home pay.

 

How does AmeriHealth Caritas work with the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania to support supplier diversity efforts?

CG: We’re supporting Gov. Tom Wolf’s initiative to mentor suppliers, particularly in southeastern Pennsylvania. We’re focusing on the underutilization of small, diverse businesses and seeing where we can help get them the exposure they need to evolve and get more business. When we find capable suppliers, we look to do whatever we can to help them. Often, I’ll be on panels with peers discussing this issue and when they’re asked to identify those suppliers that are doing a good job, they hesitate to share names. But we are proud to tell people about the small businesses we are pleased to work with.

 

How is AmeriHealth Caritas serving as an example for other companies?

SG: This commitment to increasing supplier diversity should show other companies that you can hire the best people to do the job and those people can still reflect the communities we serve. Additionally, AmeriHealth Caritas is able to leverage the relationships they have with small businesses like mine to show the value they can bring to potential markets. I’ve been honored to join the company as it pitches new business in other markets and speak to my personal experience with its diversity efforts. That helps AmeriHealth Caritas stand out in the procurement process.

 

MM: When you’re a small business, you’re learning everything from the ground up. You’re not inheriting anything, so the guidance of a major company like AmeriHealth Caritas is so important. If other companies would see the value in and the benefits of investing in small businesses, so many entrepreneurs like me would be much better off.

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