The award is one of the Environmental Excellence Awards given each year to honor environmental achievements in the health care sector. The awards were presented May 19 in Dallas, Texas at the CleanMed Conference & Exhibition, the premier national environmental conference for leaders in health care sustainability.
“We are delighted and honored to receive this prestigious distinction from Practice Greenhealth,” said Sister Clare Dalton, Vice President of Mission Services. “Stewardship is at the core of our mission at Dignity Health and I am proud that we are doing our part to reduce our environmental footprint. Environmental sustainability is a responsibility we take great pride in and we look forward to continuing to make strides in how we further reduce our impact on the environment.”
The Greenhealth Partner for Change Award recognizes health care facilities that continuously improve and expand upon their mercury elimination, waste reduction, recycling and source reduction programs. At a minimum, facilities applying for this award must be recycling 15 percent of their total waste, have reduced regulated medical waste, are well along the way to mercury elimination, and have developed other successful pollution prevention programs in many different areas.
Some of the sustainability improvements made at Mercy General over the past year include, reducing water consumption by more than half, from 45,000,000 gallons to 20,353,821 gallons, increasing the recycling of paper products from 428 tons to 526 tons and utilizing 100 percent “green” chemicals for cleaning. Additionally, the hospital made other significant changes to become more environmental-friendly.
Dignity Health has been focused on sustainability for more than 20 years and is recognized for its efforts to reduce waste and implement pollution prevention programs. In 2005, Dignity Health became the first health care organization of its size to use IV bags, solutions, and tubing that are free of PVC and DEHP. The health system has pledged to increase its use of renewable energy to 35 percent and to reduce its greenhouse gas emissions by 40 percent by 2020 – a goal that the organization is already on track to surpass. In its legislative advocacy efforts, Dignity Health helped influence the passage of SB 350 in California, a landmark bill that will increase both the state’s renewable energy use and energy efficiency in buildings by 50 percent.