SOURCE: Healthier Hospitals Initiative

Healthier Hospitals Initiative

April 20, 2012 12:31 ET

Hospitals Show Support for Earth Day With New Healthier Hospitals Initiative Commitments

Environmental Links to Health Draw New Recruits for National Effort

RESTON, VA--(Marketwire - Apr 20, 2012) - Earth Day marks new progress in a national initiative to reduce the environmental impact of hospitals, which has prompted growing awareness and new commitments from hospital leadership to improve community, patient and employee health.

Hundreds of hospitals have already demonstrated an ongoing commitment to reducing their environmental footprint by becoming sponsoring members in the Healthier Hospitals Initiative, which kicked off a recruitment effort at an April 3 briefing in Washington, DC. Since the launch, five new hospitals and hospital systems have signed up for the Initiative, including Boulder Community Hospital, Boulder, CO; Bradley Hospital, East Providence, RI; Gundersen Lutheran Health System, La Crosse, WI; Norwalk Hospital, Norwalk, CT; and Meriter Health Services, Madison, WI. More than 200 hospital representatives attended a webinar on HHI, which has been recorded for additional viewing by other hospitals learning of the Initiative.

To enroll hospitals across the United States and Canada, HHI has made the sustainability Initiative a free program, which provides guidance and resources on adopting environmentally friendly business practices. The Initiative's 11 sponsoring health systems represent more than 500 hospitals nationwide.

Initiative leaders called on hospitals to join the Initiative. "Many hospitals already are taking action independently to conserve resources and reduce waste, but as a sector committed to improving health, we know we can do more," said John Messervy, AIA, Director of Capital & Facility Planning, Partners Healthcare, and Chairman of the HHI steering committee. "With the Healthier Hospitals Initiative, hospitals can share best practices and gain access to resources to help them become more sustainable. Earth Day is the perfect time to sign up and take advantage of these free resources."

Through the Initiative's pilot projects, sponsoring health systems have reached significant milestones:

  • Vanguard Health Systems diverted an estimated 20 tons of waste from landfills and had targeted savings of $3 million in Fiscal Year 2012.
  • Advocate Health Care reduced energy use system-wide by 10.6 percent with savings of more than $2.5 million in 2011 dollars.
  • Dignity Health (formerly Catholic Healthcare West) removed nearly 1.9 million pounds of PVC material from IV containers and kept 557,434 pounds of waste out of landfills by adopting a new IV bag.

The three-year Initiative is designed to accelerate the industry's progress toward adopting a more sustainable business model. Participants will share data so the Healthier Hospitals Initiative can measure overall progress in reducing the industry's environmental impact.

"Many hospitals are already doing good things in this area, but they are often fragmented efforts, with no coordinated way to measure impact," said Seema Wadhwa, Director of HHI. "Through participation in the Initiative, hospitals can play a key role in leading the sector to a healthier future. Our participants' sustainability efforts are having a real impact in terms of promoting health and reducing costs."

To help hospitals make needed changes, the Healthier Hospitals Initiative issued newly-published, free step-by-step guides to progress in the six HHI Challenges:

  • Engage in leadership on environmental health and sustainability
  • Serve healthier foods and beverages
  • Reduce energy use
  • Reduce waste and recycle
  • Use safer chemicals
  • Purchase environmentally preferable products

To learn more about the Healthier Hospitals Initiative and sign up to participate, visit http://healthierhospitals.org/get-involved.

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.

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