Health Care Provider Will Join White House Initiative to Improve Climate Resilience
SAN FRANCISCO - December 17, 2014 - At a White House event today, Dignity Health announced its commitment to improve the resilience of its facilities to extreme weather events and other impacts of climate change, and embraced a new guide from the federal government on best practices health care organizations can adopt to improve their climate readiness.
"At Dignity Health, we've always recognized the interdependence between the health of our planet and the health of our people," said Dignity Health CEO Lloyd Dean. "This initiative will help our organization ensure that climate change will not interfere with our ability to provide care to those in need."
These commitments were made as part of the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) Sustainable and Climate Resilient Health Care Facilities Initiative. The initiative is designed to help health care providers develop tools and information that will prepare them for the impacts of climate change, and allows for continuity of care before, during, and after extreme weather events.
Dignity Health will begin by conducting a vulnerability assessment to account for the latest scientific research on climate change. This analysis will be used to update Dignity Health's emergency operations plans and drive many other system-wide improvements. Dignity Health has set environmental goals in all its hospitals since 1996, and issues annual reports on its progress each year.
"Our organization incorporates environmental policies into the work we do every day," said Vice President of Community Health, Sister Susan Vickers. "Whether it's designing efficient buildings, conserving water, reducing waste, or lowering our greenhouse gas emissions, Dignity Health is making sure that we are conscious of both our own impact on the environment, and its impact on us."
HHS recognizes that climate change-related health threats such as heat waves, droughts, and worsened air pollution are anticipated to put additional strain on the U.S. health care system through associated illnesses and chronic conditions like cardiovascular and respiratory diseases.
"As both a health care provider and a healing ministry called toward environmental stewardship, Dignity Health believes it has an obligation to respond to the threats posed by climate change," Dean said. "That's why we will continue to follow this valuable guidance in providing for the care of patients and employees in all our service areas."