Next City: “Hospitals Can Be Key to Healthy People, Healthy Economies”

Writing for Next City, Johnny Magdaleno highlights how our “Inclusive Local Sourcing” toolkit—the second in the Hospitals Aligned for Healthy Communities series—is helping lift up the key strategies health systems are using around the country to align their purchasing budgets with community benefit:

With the U.S. medical care industry spending more than $340 billion on goods and services every year, health systems and hospitals have the type of money that could revitalize the communities where they save lives.

That is, if they tended to funnel those dollars down to the neighborhood level.

When a hospital needs food for its cafeteria or off-site laundry services, for example, chances are it’s already signed up for what’s called a group purchasing organization. Nearly 98 percent of U.S. hospitals use this system, and have contracts that see big, often national vendors providing bulk orders and service at discounted rates.

But a new online toolkit designed by the Democracy Collaborative, a community wealth research center based in Ohio, is hoping to shatter that norm and help institutions look at the main street businesses and local vendors surrounding them to fill their needs. It’s part of a series, rich with guide points as well as examples of the growing number of hospitals that are already looking to rein their purchasing power to within city borders, called Hospitals Aligned for Healthy Communities

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