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Central Health Disparity Study

The Travis County Healthcare District d/b/a Central Health (“Central Health”) is conducting a Disparity Study about its utilization of Minority and Women Business Enterprises (“M/WBEs”) and Historically Underutilized Businesses (“HUBs”). This research project will examine whether all firms have equal access to contracting opportunities on Central Health’s prime contracts and associated subcontracts and recommend strategies to ensure full and fair competition in Central Health contracting.

The study will gather and analyze two types of evidence. First, it will examine statistical evidence of Central Health’s utilization of M/WBEs and HUBs, and the availability of such businesses as a percentage of all firms in the Central Health’s market area and relevant industries. The study will examine whether there are disparities, if any, between the availability of M/WBEs and HUBs and their utilization on Central Health contracts and related subcontracts. The research will also analyze whether M/WBEs and HUBs experience disparities throughout the Austin metropolitan area economy as a whole.

Second, the study will gather qualitative or anecdotal evidence of any continuing effects of past or present race and sex discrimination, as well as factors necessary for entrepreneurial success, such as equal access to business capital, bonding, networks, suppliers, etc.

Another important component is a review of Central Health’s current policies.

Finally, the study will present recommendations for future initiatives and enhancements, including, if supported by the evidence, the use of contract goals.

Colette Holt & Associates (“CHA”), a San Antonio-based nationally recognized expert team on disparity studies and M/WBE and HUB programs, was selected to conduct this study.

How can you be involved? The participation of stakeholders and business owners is critical to the study’s outcomes in two important ways.

First, the study team will contact businesses to confirm information on specific contracts and/or to receive additional contract information that is currently not available or accessible to Central Health. CHA will rely on prime firms to supplement data not available from Central Health. This information is critical to developing an accurate analysis of the utilization of M/WBEs and HUBs on these projects. With the support and assistance of business owners, the study will present a complete picture of Central Health’s contracting activities. Some firms will be contacted to provide such data. CHA will work with the firms to make the process as easy as possible.

Second, interested persons can be part of the process for anecdotal data collection through several channels.  We will conduct small group interviews of business owners; these sessions are designed for participants to share experiences and insights. We also encourage written comments and feedback to the dedicated study email address. The information generated from these data collection methods will be an important component of the analysis of how Central Health might ensure equal opportunities for all firms and support small, local businesses. To learn more or submit questions, please email CHA at centralhealth-study@mwbelaw.com. We also welcome written submissions or other evidence.

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