The nature of providing health care services is changing, particularly as the focus shifts from hospital-based care to providing care in more cost-effective settings. The introduction of the Affordable Care Act and other key drivers are making it increasing important for health care providers, and their supply companies, to reduce costs for customers and patients, says Greg Halvacs, the Chief Security Officer and Senior Vice President for Global Security, Flight Operations and Global Real Estate at Cardinal Health, a health care services company based in Dublin, Ohio.

“The Cardinal Health tagline is ‘Essential to Care,’ reinforcing that we not only provide medical products and pharmaceuticals that are essential to the delivery of health care, but we also provide a broad array of products and solutions that improve the quality and cost effectiveness of care,” he says.

Some of those initiatives that Halvacs provides through security include sharing contract services from national vendors for security equipment, access control and background checks. The Cardinal Health sales team also presents the company’s 8,000 independent retail customers with options for continuing education classes in security solutions, which could focus on robbery prevention, risk mitigation, store security and personnel safety, for example.

“We work across the whole organization, whether it’s HR, quality, legal, operations, communications, or mergers and acquisitions,” he says. “We partner with them. We make sure we’re at the table, and that we remain proactive. When we identify potential security issues, we sit down with leadership and educate them on what we want to do and how we want to go about doing it. I think it’s very high-level and has built a lot of credibility throughout the years in the organization at all levels.”

Halvacs’ security team develops metrics and in-house case studies to help sell their case to the C-Suite, as well as to educate different business units about emerging risks.

 But it’s not just the C-Suite that is being educated about security measures – Cardinal Health’s security team recruits its 40,000 employees to be on the lookout: “We are building a culture where security is everyone’s responsibility. We constantly get reports from the field, reporting suspicious activity.”

A part of that effort’s success is Cardinal Health and the security team’s commitment to hiring the very best security talent. The enterprise’s background check and drug testing program was recently centralized under one individual, and the company switched methods from urine analysis to hair testing to mitigate the possibility of cheating on drug tests. Halvacs can also depend on security and compliance coordinators at each of Cardinal Health’s 400 global locations to implement policy processes across the enterprise, including a company-wide technology upgrade on security systems three years ago.

As a supply chain-based enterprise, Cardinal Health has to protect products “to the last mile,” Halvacs says. “Our drivers deliver products to thousands of points of care every day. Because of the levels of products we carry, sometimes they’re targeted for theft, so we’re always looking at how to prevent theft within the supply chain, especially on the last mile – the last point to the customer, whether it’s a chain pharmacy or an independent retailer or hospital.”

To best mitigate the risk to the last mile, Halvacs and his team use CAP Index ratings and predictability modeling, as well as extensive awareness training of driver surroundings, including if they’re being followed.

Halvacs says that the strength and reliability of Cardinal Health’s supply chain services are perhaps most evident when disasters – like tsunamis, floods, tornadoes or hurricanes – strike.  “We have disaster preparedness plans in place to ensure that all of our customers – particularly hospitals and retail pharmacies – can always receive the medical and pharmaceutical products their patients need, even in times of disaster.  Through our global command center, we track the T-minus schedules for hurricanes, and our regional teams assist with monitoring weather and wild fires. We make sure that our four distribution centers are fully stocked, so we have the capability and agility to respond throughout our network.”


Security Scorecard

  •  Annual Revenue: $91 billion
  • Security Budget: Confidential

 Critical Issues

  • Asset Protection/Theft
  • Crisis Management

 Security Mission

  • Fraud/IP Theft: External, Partner and
  • Insider Threats
  • Insurance
  • Cybersecurity
  • Fire
  • Supply Chain
  • Regulatory Compliance
  • Supporting Business Growth
  • Drug Testing
  • Risk Management Planning 

Read more thought-leading strategies and success stories from security frontrunners in more 2014 Security 500 Report profiles here.