May 2, 2012

Kaiser Permanente wins national environmental award

‘System for Change’ Recognition Highlights Organization’s Excellence in Environmental Performance

OAKLAND, Calif. — Kaiser Permanente has been honored with a System for Change Award from Practice Greenhealth, the national membership organization for health care organizations committed to environmentally responsible operations. The System for Change Award recognizes health systems that are working to gather data, set system goals, benchmark and share successes in environmental performance.

“This award recognizes the tremendous efforts by Kaiser Permanente employees and physicians who consider environmental protection to be central to improving the total health of the communities we serve,” said Raymond J. Baxter, PhD, senior vice president for Community Benefit, Research and Health Policy. “The benefits to public health and the environment, coupled with the cost savings we achieve by protecting the air, land and water, make it well worth it.”

Kaiser Permanente is a health care leader in green building, purchasing safer materials, saving energy and reducing waste. For example, earlier this year, Kaiser Permanente announced it is converting to IV solution bags that are 100 percent PVC- and DEHP-free and intravenous tubing that is 100 percent free of DEHP. PVC (polyvinyl chloride) and DEHP (Di-2-ethylhexyl phthalate) are both widely used in medical products and have been shown to have harmful effects on health. Kaiser Permanente purchases 4.9 million IV tubing sets and 9.2 million solution bags each year. This conversion affects nearly 100 tons of medical supplies and also is expected to save close to $5 million a year.

“Improving environmental performance is a priority for our approach to health care,” said Kathy Gerwig, Kaiser Permanente’s vice president for workplace safety and environmental stewardship officer. “We are continuously looking for ways to better protect the health and safety of our members and our communities.”

“This award demonstrates Kaiser Permanente’s commitment to the communities it serves to protect public health and preserve the environment,” said Laura Wenger, RN, executive director, Practice Greenhealth. “You can do a lot of good for patients, staff and the environment when working as a cohesive health system. Kaiser Permanente is truly demonstrating leadership for the future of health care.”

In addition to the System for Change Award, Kaiser Permanente facilities and regions across the country received 18 additional awards in recognition of efforts to reduce waste and prevent pollution. The awards include:

Partner for Change Award

  • Kaiser Foundation Health Plan of Georgia
  • Kaiser Permanente Antioch (Calif.) Medical Center
  • Kaiser Foundation Hospital Walnut Creek (Calif.)
  • Kaiser Permanente Baldwin Park (Calif.) Medical Center
  • Kaiser Foundation Health Plan of Ohio
  • Kaiser Permanente Health Plan of the Mid-Atlantic States
  • Kaiser Permanente Riverside (Calif.) Medical Center
  • Kaiser Permanente Sacramento (Calif.) Medical Center
  • Kaiser Permanente San Jose (Calif.) Medical Center
  • Kaiser Permanente Santa Clara (Calif.) Medical Center

Partner Recognition Award

  • Kaiser Permanente Fontana (Calif.) Medical Center
  • Kaiser Permanente Fremont (Calif.) Medical Center
  • Kaiser Permanente Hayward (Calif.) Medical Center
  • Kaiser Permanente Panorama City (Calif.) Medical Center
  • Kaiser Permanente South San Francisco (Calif.) Medical Center
  • Kaiser Permanente Vallejo (Calif.) Medical Center
  • Kaiser Permanente Roseville (Calif.) Medical Center
  • Kaiser Permanente Sunnyside (Ore.) Medical Center

Kaiser Permanente has received awards every year since the inception of Practice Greenhealth’s Environmental Excellence Awards program in 2002. Kaiser Permanente has won 142 awards from Practice Greenhealth in the last 10 years.

The Practice Greenhealth Environmental Excellence Awards were presented in Denver, Colo., at CleanMed, the premier national environmental conference for leaders in health care sustainability.