San Francisco, CA – September 13, 2018 – To improve the health of all communities, Dignity Health today called on health care leaders to extend their sustainability efforts in order to promote a healthy population. Dignity Health, one of the nation’s largest health systems—with 39 hospitals and 400-plus care-centers across the U.S.—joined global leaders from governments and businesses at the Global Climate and Health Forum in San Francisco, California.
“As health care providers, we are called upon in times of crisis and must join together now to support climate-smart solutions for the health of our planet and the health of our people,” said Lloyd Dean, president and CEO of Dignity Health. “I urge our nation’s health systems to move decisively to take a role to protect the air we breathe, the water we drink, and the food we eat. It is incumbent upon all of us to adopt and advocate for sustainable solutions that will keep our communities healthy.”
The announcement marks significant action by the organization to reduce waste and enhance public awareness surrounding the interdependencies between global environmental changes and public health issues.
“For decades, Dignity Health has adopted policies and supported initiatives to help change how our industry cares for the planet,” said Rachelle Wenger, director of public policy and advocacy for Dignity Health. “As we join together with other health care decision makers, our goal is to bring awareness to the link between our environment and public health.”
Since 2010, Dignity Health has reduced greenhouse gas emissions by 20 percent and is on track to reduce these emissions by 40 percent within the next two years. Over the past eight years, Dignity Health has also decreased energy usage by 16 percent, as renewable energy sources now meet 27 percent of the health system’s electricity needs.
“The actions we take now as organizations will help improve the health and lives of those in our communities, and around the planet for years to come,” said Sister Mary Ellen Leciejewski, OP, vice president of corporate sustainability at Dignity Health. “We believe we must continue to protect the most vulnerable populations—not only within our hospital walls—but also in the environments in which they live. Dignity Health remains committed to helping our communities live healthy and productive lives.”
Dignity Health’s demonstrated efforts to address impacts to our environment over the past 20 years include being the first hospital system to divest investments from thermal coal. Dignity Health reduces and reports its greenhouse gas emissions, has eliminated mercury from its hospitals, and discontinued the use of plastic straws in cafeterias. Dignity Health is also a founding member of the California Health Care Climate Alliance, a leadership body of California health systems committed to addressing environmental changes.
About Dignity Health
Dignity Health, one of the nation’s largest health care systems, is a multi-state network of 10,000 physicians, more than 60,000 employees, 39 acute care hospitals and 400-plus care-centers including neighborhood hospitals, urgent care, surgery and imaging centers, home health, and primary care clinics. Headquartered in San Francisco, Dignity Health is dedicated to providing compassionate, high-quality, and affordable patient-centered care with special attention to the poor and underserved. In FY17, Dignity Health provided $2.6 billion in charitable care and services. For more information, please visit our website at www.dignityhealth.org.