SOURCE: Healthier Hospitals Initiative

Healthier Hospitals Initiative

June 06, 2012 11:36 ET

Healthier Hospitals Initiative Becomes Founding Member of International Network to Reduce Hospital Environmental Footprint, Improve Human Health

Global Green and Healthy Hospitals Network Spans Six Continents

WASHINGTON, DC--(Marketwire - Jun 6, 2012) - The Healthier Hospitals Initiative (HHI) has joined the international Global Green and Healthy Hospitals Network (GGHHN) as a founding member that will represent the U.S. health care sector in this global forum. HHI is a U.S.-based collaboration of hospitals and three non-government organizations formed to improve public health by speeding the implementation of sustainable operations in the health care sector. The GGHHN is an international initiative to reduce the health sector's ecological footprint and promote public environmental health.

The Healthier Hospitals Initiative is sponsored by 11 major health systems representing 500 U.S. hospitals and more than $20 billion in purchasing power; along with Health Care Without Harm, Practice Greenhealth, and the Center for Health Design. Recently, HHI launched a new program through which hospitals are offered free guidance in six different areas of sustainable hospital operations: Leadership, Healthy Food, Leaner Energy, Less Waste, Safer Chemicals and Smarter Purchasing.

"HHI is committed to reducing the environmental footprint of the health care sector, and pleased to support GGHHN as it looks to achieve this goal internationally," stated John Messervy, AIA, chair of HHI. "The main objective of our work is improving human health, and we are very pleased to see that hospitals in other nations also see sustainability as a worthwhile effort that will benefit their own populations."

Organizations, hospitals and health systems representing the interests of more than 3,500 hospitals from six continents are founding members of the GGHHN, which is coordinated by Health Care Without Harm. In addition to HHI, these include a broad set of organizations, ranging from the Sustainability Unit of England's National Health Service, to Thailand's Department of Health, the Indonesia Hospital Association, the Australian Healthcare and Hospitals Association, and the International Health Promoting Hospitals Network, as well as dozens of individual hospitals from Argentina, Brazil, Costa Rica, Mexico, Canada, India and Nepal.

"Our world is interconnected, and we believe that reducing the burden of human illness benefits the entire planet," said Josh Karliner, International Coordinator for Health Care Without Harm, which has led the establishment of the Network. "What is significant here is that hospitals and health systems are coming together across borders and committing to take leadership to address their impacts on the environment and human health. We are extremely pleased to see U.S. hospitals playing a leadership role in this regard."

Hospitals have a large environmental footprint, consuming energy and water in large quantities, and generating tons of waste, as well as producing pollutants from chemicals used throughout hospital operations. As more and more links are being established between health and environment, hospitals are increasingly taking steps to reduce their pollutants in order to improve the health of their patients and staff. Many of these hospitals are finding that engaging in sustainability provides financial savings as well.

Members of both HHI and the GGHHN will establish specific goals for reducing their environmental footprint and report on their progress on a regular basis and share case studies and best practices with one another. HHI enrollees from the U.S. and Canada will interact via www.healthierhospitals.org, while hospitals from around the world will interact via the Global Green and Healthy Hospitals website, www.greenhospitals.net

About the Healthier Hospitals Initiative
The Healthier Hospitals Initiative (HHI) is a national campaign to implement a completely new approach to improving environmental health and sustainability in the health care sector. Eleven of the largest, most influential U.S. health systems, comprising over 500 hospitals with more than $20 billion in purchasing power, worked with Health Care Without Harm (HCWH), the Center for Health Design and Practice Greenhealth to create HHI as a guide for hospitals to improve sustainability in six key areas: engaged leadership, healthier foods, leaner energy, less waste, safer chemicals, and smarter purchasing. Sponsoring health systems include Advocate Health Care, Bon Secours Health System, Catholic Health Initiatives, Dignity Health (formerly Catholic Healthcare West), Hospital Corporation of America, Inova Health System, Kaiser Permanente, MedStar Health, Partners HealthCare, Tenet Health Systems and Vanguard Health Systems. More information is available at www.healthierhospitals.org. Follow HHI on Twitter at @HHIorg and on Facebook at www.facebook.com/healthierhospitalsinitiative.

About Global Green and Healthy Hospitals
Hospitals, health systems and health organizations representing the interests of more than 3,500 hospitals from six continents have come together to form a global network dedicated to reducing their ecological footprint and promoting public environmental health. The Network is based on members' commitment to implement the Global Green and Healthy Hospitals Agenda -- a comprehensive environmental health framework for hospitals and health systems, launched in October 2011. Founding members include: the Sustainable Development Unit of England's National Health Service, Thailand's Department of Health, the Australian Healthcare and Hospitals Association, the International Health Promoting Hospitals Network and the Healthier Hospitals Initiative in the United States. More information is available at www.greenhospitals.net