Ask the White Guy: The Business Case for Diversity in Healthcare

Luke Visconti’s Ask the White Guy column is a top draw on DiversityInc.com. Visconti, the founder and CEO of DiversityInc, is a nationally recognized leader in diversity management. In his popular column, readers who ask Visconti tough questions about race/culture, religion, gender, sexual orientation, disability and age can expect smart, direct and disarmingly frank answers.


Question:

Have you found it difficult to communicate the business case for diversity in non-traditional industries like healthcare where the customer’s choice is directed by an insurance agency versus his/her preference And, does it make sense to look at the business case from a cost-savings perspective versus profit

Answer:

Healthcare is “traditional” for people who are sick. What differs is our perception of healthcare by race and gender. We have vastly different trust levels, which greatly contribute to the multi-billion-dollar gap between healthcare white people and people of color receive.

I recently had a meeting with a hospital association CFO. He dressed me down (yelled, actually) about diversity being irrelevant to his industry. I asserted that trust levels were very different, and the lack of trust that some groups have lead to things like a person not going to a doctor until the cancer metastasizes or their vascular system is damaged by hypertension. This increases costs, making diversity a direct business case for his industry. He (screamed) that he didn’t think that there was a trust gap. I challenged him to a bet: We would survey 1,000 of his association’s latest patients and tabulate the results by race and gender. If there were no gap, I would pay his favorite charity $5,000. If there was a gap, he would pay the DiversityInc Foundation $5,000.

I never heard from him again.

Screaming may be a good technique with some people, but I spent four months with Staff Sergeant Kerr, United States Marine Corps, before going to flight school. I have since been immune to screaming. During our brief meeting, I did think about helping the CFO avail himself of his association’s services but was able to resist the impulse.

Getting back to your question, cost avoidance is a fine business case for all businesses. Better relationships reduce costs … staff turnover, patient satisfaction, supplier efficiency, etc. Part of good diversity management is also avoiding potential liability in the form of lawsuits.

Latest News

Parents protest over Critical Race Theory education in schools

Florida Legislature Issues Initial Approval of Bill That Would Prohibit White ‘Discomfort’ During Black History Education

Even though the Florida Department of Education has already banned the classroom teaching of Critical Race Theory, lawmakers in the state are attempting to go even further, passing a law to protect whites’ “feelings” during education dealing with Black history.  Amy Simonson of CNN reported that a bill backed by…

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell

Mitch McConnell Under Fire for Claiming Black Americans Are Not ‘Americans’

As the battle to protect voting rights continues in the nation’s capital — sadly with little success — veteran politician and minority leader of the U.S. Senate, Mitch McConnell, has come under fire for a statement he made that implied Black Americans were not “full” Americans. Bruce Schreiner of The…

Toyota Earns the Most R&D Patents Among Automakers in IPO Rankings for 8th Consecutive Year

Originally published at pressroom.toyota.com. Toyota ranked No. 7 on The DiversityInc Top 50 Companies for Diversity list in 2021.   The United States Patent and Trademark Office awarded Toyota more patents than any other automaker in 2021, according to an annual ranking by the Intellectual Property Owners Association (IPO). Toyota’s engineers…