White House Highlights Healthier Hospitals Initiative’s Success in Reducing Environmental Impact and Costs

- Senior Administration Officials, Leading Hospital Administrators and Policy Experts Gather to Discuss the Economic and Environmental Benefits of Greening Hospitals -


For Immediate Release: July 24, 2012

Contact:     Lauren Smith
                   (202) 591-4065

RESTON, VAThe White House Council on Environmental Quality (CEQ) will today facilitate discussions among leaders in health care and policy to highlight the Healthier Hospitals Initiative’s (HHI) successful efforts to reduce the environmental footprint of hospitals, lower costs and improve patient health by incorporating sustainability initiatives into their business models.

Over ten leaders of the health and environmental sectors will take part in two panel discussions: “Fostering a Culture of Environmental Sustainability” and “Healthier Hospitals Initiative: Transforming the Supply Chain.”  As part of these discussions, officials will address the impact these efforts have on hospital purchasing decisions, the health care supply chain and the overall business of the health care sector.
Senior Administration officials from the Environmental Protection Agency, White House Council on Environmental Quality, and the Department of Energy’s Better Buildings Challenge will be in attendance.  Additionally, several of the nation’s largest health systems will participate in the discussions, illustrating the widely recognized benefits of implementing smarter business practices across and beyond the health industry.  The major health systems and distinguished speakers include:

  • Gary Cohen, President, Health Care Without Harm, and Founder of the Healthier Hospitals Initiative
  • Kathy Gerwig, Vice President, Workplace Safety and Environmental Stewardship Officer, Kaiser Permanente
  • Al Iannuzzi, Senior Director Product Stewardship, Worldwide Environment, Health and Safety at Johnson & Johnson
  • John Messervy, AIA, Director of Capital and Facilities Planning, Partners HealthCare
  • Brad Perkins, MD, Executive Vice President for Strategy & Innovation, & Chief Transformation Officer, Vanguard Health Systems
  • Blair Sadler, Senior Fellow, Institute for Healthcare Improvement; former CEO of Rady Children's Hospital
  • J. Knox Singleton, CEO, Inova Health System
  • Jeff Thompson, MD, CEO, Gundersen Health System
  • Christina Vernon, Executive Sustainability Officer, Cleveland Clinic
  • Seema Wadhwa, Director, Healthier Hospitals Initiative

“By implementing the challenges put forth by the Healthier Hospitals Initiative, enrolled hospitals are working to improve the environment, the health of our patients and to lower costs,” said Gary Cohen, president of Health Care Without Harm and founder of HHI.  “The Initiative is leading the health care sector in reducing bottom-line costs.  In addition, HHI is working to transform the industry as a whole by encouraging all hospitals to purchase more environmentally-preferable supplies, serve healthier foods, use less energy, reduce waste and more.”

HHI is an industry-led initiative that calls upon the nation’s hospitals to commit to the three-year Initiative to improve the health and safety of patients, staff and communities by implementing at least one of the six challenges:

  • Engaged Leadership Challenge: engage in leadership on environmental health and sustainability
  • Healthier Food Challenge: serve healthier foods and beverages
  • Leaner Energy Challenge: reduce energy use
  • Less Waste Challenge: reduce waste and recycle
  • Safer Chemicals Challenge: use safer chemicals
  • Smarter Purchasing Challenge: purchase environmentally preferable products

“Hospitals have an obligation to patients, staff and communities to not only find a better, smarter way of doing business, but also to improve health by making smart decisions about using less energy, using safer chemicals and serving healthier foods,” said James H. Skogsbergh, CEO, Advocate Health Care.  “By participating in the Healthier Hospitals Initiative, we are advancing our commitment to protecting and improving patient health and the health of our environment.”

Visit HHI’s website to learn more about the Initiative.

Today’s event will be live streamed on the White House website. To watch the live panel discussions, click here.

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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 approximately 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.  

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