OAKLAND, Calif. — Kaiser Permanente has garnered 20 environmental excellence awards for its environmental performance during the past year from Practice Greenhealth, a national nonprofit membership organization for hospitals and health systems committed to environmentally responsible operations and care.
The Greenhealth Partner for Change Award is given each year to honor outstanding environmental achievements in the health care sector. The recognition goes to hospitals and other health care facilities that continually improve and expand their work to eliminate mercury, recycle and reduce waste. At a minimum, award-winning facilities must be recycling 15 percent of their total waste. They must have reduced medical waste and be well along the way to eliminating mercury. They also must demonstrate success with programs to prevent pollution in other areas as well.
“Kaiser Permanente works consistently to support sustainable practices in health care, and these awards recognize its outstanding achievements,” said Gary Cohen, president and founder of Practice Greenhealth and Health Care Without Harm. “It’s an honor to partner with the organization to improve the health and safety of patients, staff, environment and the community at large.”
Among this year’s award winners are the Kaiser Permanente San Jose, Sacramento and Riverside medical centers, which earned Greenhealth Emerald awards. Hospitals receiving this level of recognition demonstrate continued success with cross-functional “green teams” and sustainability programs.
“These awards are especially meaningful because they recognize the great work being done on the frontlines of Kaiser Permanente to support the health of the environment,” said Kathy Gerwig, Kaiser Permanente’s vice president for employee safety, health and wellness, and environmental stewardship officer. “While delivering life-saving care, our remarkable employees and physicians create innovative solutions to the environmental problems they see in their lines of work.”
In addition to being one of the largest users of wind and solar energy in the country, Kaiser Permanente is a health care leader in reducing waste, purchasing safer materials without harmful chemicals, promoting sustainable food choices and conserving water. Kaiser Permanente has agreed to purchase enough renewable energy to provide half of the electricity it uses in California. Its newest energy projects include a combination of offsite wind and solar purchases and a plan to put solar panels at more than 100 medical offices, hospitals and other locations that will allow the organization to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 30 percent by 2017.
Other notable achievements include diverting 40 percent of waste materials from landfills and devoting 19 percent of its total food spending to locally grown and sustainably produced food for patient meals and cafeterias.
“Kaiser Permanente embraces environmental stewardship because we know we can help people lead healthier lives if we work to eliminate or mitigate environmental contributors to disease,” Gerwig added.
Kaiser Permanente has been recognized annually since the inception of Practice Greenhealth’s Environmental Excellence Awards program in 2002. In all, Kaiser Permanente has received 223 awards from Practice Greenhealth. This year’s awards were presented at an awards dinner May 14, 2015 in Portland, Oregon, at the CleanMed Conference & Exhibition, the premier national environmental conference for leaders in health care sustainability.
The 2015 Kaiser Permanente awards list follows:
Emerald Partner for Change Award
Recognizes health care facilities that have achieved improvements in their mercury-elimination, waste-reduction, recycling and source-reduction programs — above and beyond the Partner for Change criteria.
Greenhealth Partner for Change Award
Recognizes health care facilities that at a minimum are recycling 15 percent of their total waste, have reduced regulated medical waste, are well along the way to mercury elimination, and have developed other successful pollution-
Partner Recognition Award
Given to health care facilities that have begun to work on environmental improvement, have achieved some progress, and have at least a 10 percent recycling rate for their total waste stream.
For more information about Kaiser Permanente’s commitment to environmental and community health, go to kp.org/green.
Practice Greenhealth is the nation’s leading health care community that empowers its members to increase their efficiencies and environmental stewardship while improving patient safety and care through tools, best practices and knowledge. To learn more about Practice Greenhealth visit www.practicegreenhealth.org.
Kaiser Permanente is committed to helping shape the future of health care. We are recognized as one of the nation’s leading health care providers and not-for-profit health plans. Founded in 1945, Kaiser Permanente has a mission to provide high-quality, affordable health care services and to improve the health of our members and the communities we serve. We currently serve more than 10 million members in eight states and the District of Columbia. Care for members and patients is focused on their total health and guided by their personal physicians, specialists and team of caregivers. Our expert and caring medical teams are empowered and supported by industry-leading technology advances and tools for health promotion, disease prevention, state-of-the-art care delivery and world-class chronic disease management. Kaiser Permanente is dedicated to care innovations, clinical research, health education and the support of community health.