OAKLAND, Calif. – Kaiser Permanente, a leader in green building and environmentally responsible purchasing, has partnered with a group of influential health care organizations to help spread green practices across the industry.
As a founding member of the Global Health and Safety Initiative, Kaiser Permanente aims to share best practices and help to broaden the market for cleaner energy, safer products and innovative environmental technologies.
“If we collaborate, we can create leverage in the marketplace for safer and healthier practices that protect patients and staff while reducing our overall environmental footprint,” said George C. Halvorson, chairman and CEO of Kaiser Foundation Health Plan, Inc., and Kaiser Foundation Hospitals. “Our hope is that through the Global Health and Safety Initiative, many more leaders in the health care sector will realize that being green is a team sport.”
Health care is one of the largest and fastest growing sectors of the economy, representing more than 15 percent of the nation’s gross national product. Health care facilities in the United States generate 2 million tons of waste per year that pose occupational and environmental threats. In addition, health care accounts for 11 percent of all commercial energy use in America and is a major water consumer.
Kaiser Permanente has broad experience with green building, environmentally responsible purchasing and sustainable operations. Over the past five years, for example, Kaiser Permanente has chosen ecologically sustainable materials for 29 million square feet in new construction, prevented the release of 70 billion pounds of air pollutants annually and saved more than $10 million per year through energy conservation strategies.
Global Health and Safety Initiative partners include the nonprofit groups Health Care Without Harm, the Center for Health Design, and Hospitals for a Healthy Environment.
The initiative kicked off Oct. 17 with a meeting in Oakland, Calif., where the group announced plans to work together on high-priority objectives, including:
- A purchasing task force to prioritize safer and environmentally sustainable products and supplies, and a sector-wide sustainable purchasing strategy to drive markets for cleaner energy, safer products, and innovative green technologies.
- The development of a new eco-footprint model for health care to engage the sector in policies to support an agenda that includes avoiding toxic, hazardous materials – areas not previously included in eco-footprint analyses.
- The establishment of a research collaborative to provide the evidence and justification to remove obstacles to innovations in the health care environment.
- Creation of an open-source community to share best practices in the construction and operation of energy efficient, non-toxic health care environments.
The Global Health and Safety Initiative Co-Founders: Allina Hospitals and Clinics, Ascension Health, Bon Secours, Catholic Healthcare West, Cleveland Clinic Foundation, Geisinger Health System, Health Alliance of Greater Cincinnati, Henry Ford Health Systems, Hospital Sisters Health Systems, Kaiser Permanente, Presbyterian Healthcare Services – Albuquerque, St. Joseph of Orange, University of California – San Francisco Medical Center, University of Chicago Medical Center, University of Michigan Medical Center, The Center for Health Design, Health Care Without Harm, Hospitals for a Healthy Environment
Supporting Non-profit Organizations: American Nurses Association, American Society for Healthcare Engineering, Green Guide for Healthcare, Institute for Healthcare Improvement, Joint Commission, U.S. Green Building Council
Supporting Government Agencies: U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health, U.S. Department of Defense (Healthcare), U.S. Department of Energy, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency – Region 9.
Supporting Group Purchasing Organizations: Broadlane, Premier, Consorta, Novation.
About Kaiser Permanente
About Kaiser Permanente Kaiser Permanente is committed to helping shape the future of health care. We are recognized as one of America’s leading health care providers and not-for-profit health plans. Founded in 1945, our mission is to provide high-quality, affordable health care services and to improve the health of our members and the communities we serve. We currently serve 8.6 million members in nine 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. For more information, go to: www.kp.org/newscenter.