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St. Rose Wins National Mercury-Free Award


St. Rose Dominican Hospitals has been recognized for its efforts to eliminate mercury from the products it uses by Practice Greenhealth, an organization that focuses on helping hospitals increase efficiency and environmental stewardship while improving patient safety and care.

St. Rose was presented with the 2013 “Making Medicine Mercury-Free” Award, which designates that proven policies have been put in place to rid the facility of the harmful chemical mercury, and to prevent it from re-entering its facilities.

The Practice Greenhealth Making Medicine Mercury-Free award recognizes facilities that have virtually eliminated mercury from their facilities and have demonstrated a commitment to continue to be mercury-free. Award criteria include mercury-free management and purchasing policies, and staff education.

“We can't properly heal patients when there are pollutants and chemicals present in the health care setting,” said Laura Wenger, RN, Executive Director of Practice Greenhealth. “By winning the Making Medicine Mercury-Free Award, St. Rose Dominican Hospitals has eliminated one of the most hazardous – Mercury – and the health and environmental impacts that come with it.”

As evidenced in a recent Health Care Research Collaborative study, “Can Sustainable Hospitals Help Bend the Health Care Cost Curve?” introducing environmental sustainability measures in hospitals not only results in significant savings, it won't increase operating costs. The implications are clear – given the return on investment, all hospitals should adopt and expand their sustainability programs.

A variety of equipment and policy changes were made at St. Rose to convert to a mercury-free environment, including: 1) all vital-sign medical devices that contained mercury were replaced by the Philips/HP Monitors, GE Dinamap Monitors, Welch Allyn LXi, Datascope Spectrum and Draeger Infinity Delta that do not rely on Mercury to obtain their readings; 2) a purchasing policy was created to eliminate the purchase of any product or devise that contains mercury; and 3) florescent lights are now recycled by an outside contractor to capture and properly dispose of any trace of mercury.

“Part of our hospital system’s mission is providing safe and healthy work environments for our patients, staff and the communities we serve. Eliminating mercury in our surroundings is a commitment we've made to sustainability,” said Rod A. Davis, president/CEO of St. Rose Dominican Hospitals and senior vice president of operations, Dignity Health Nevada “We're pleased that Practice Greenhealth has recognized us for our efforts.”

The Practice Greenhealth Environmental Excellence Awards were presented April 25 in Boston, Massachusetts, at the CleanMed Conference & Exposition, a national environmental conference for leaders in health care sustainability.

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