July 24, 2012 09:39 ET

VHA Commends White House Effort to Promote Economic and Environmental Benefits to "Green" Hospitals

IRVING, TX--(Marketwire - Jul 24, 2012) -  VHA Inc., the national health care network, commends the President's White House Council on Environmental Quality for bringing together a distinguished list of panelists to publically discuss "Greening America's Hospitals." Today's program, to be held at the White House from 9 a.m. - noon (EDT), will be streamed live at: Two VHA members are among the speakers: Jeffrey Thompson, MD, CEO at Gundersen Health System in La Crosse, Wis. and John Messervy, AIA, director of capital & facility planning at Partners HealthCare in Boston. Dr. Thompson is included on the first panel, "Fostering a Culture of Environmental Sustainability." Messervy is participating on the second panel, "Transforming the Health Care Supply Chain."

VHA recognizes that the health care industry is challenged daily to provide quality patient care while also protecting the safety of both the patient and health care employees. In recent years, sustainability has gained attention as an additional factor to be considered when weighing these issues.

Along with advocating for safer communities, VHA recognizes that sustainability efforts are a path to helping hospitals significantly reduce costs. Indeed, VHA hospitals that have embraced sustainability as a business imperative are realizing substantial savings in their operations, often by making simple changes such as reducing waste and energy usage. To better measure and report economic, environmental and social performance, VHA has adopted and is utilizing the Global Reporting Initiative standards or GRI. In addition, VHA is an organizational stakeholder in the GRI network -- a large multi-disciplined group made up of global business, civil society, labor, academic and professional institutions that have pledged to create a standardized framework for measuring and reporting performance in the area of sustainability.

Several sustainability milestones achieved with Novation, VHA's supply contracting company, include:

  • Recycling efforts by Novation and VHA suppliers diverted more than 54 million pounds of paper from landfills for recycling and saved 463,000 trees. In addition, members reduced their medical waste by 1.3 million pounds, saving an estimated $38 million.
  • Novation's environmentally preferred (EPP) products program helped hospitals develop green purchasing strategies with 3,000 EPP under contract. Products are screened for a wide range of attributes, including material content (e.g., latex-, BPA- and PVC-free), packaging efficiencies, energy and water conservation and recycled content. In 2010, members purchased more than 1.8 billion EPPs, a 3.84% increase over 2009, a rate of increase that is faster than the growth of non-EPP products.

About VHA Inc.

VHA Inc., based in Irving, Texas, is a national network of not-for-profit health care organizations that work together to drive maximum savings in the supply chain arena, set new levels of clinical performance and identify and implement best practices to improve operational efficiency and clinical outcomes. Since 1977, VHA has leveraged its expertise in analytics, contracting, consulting and networks to help members achieve their operational, clinical and financial objectives. In 2011, VHA delivered record savings and value of $1.9 billion to members. VHA serves more than 1,350 hospitals and more than 72,000 non-acute care providers nationwide, coordinating delivery of its programs and services through its 16 regional offices. VHA has been ranked as one of the best places to work in health care by Modern Healthcare since the publication introduced this list in 2008.

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