Environmental Stewardship Pays Off for Colorado Hospital

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Environmental Stewardship Pays Off for Colorado Hospital

August 18th, 2016


 What started as a grassroots effort less than a decade ago has grown to be a substantial force for positive change in the health care field.



Source: Sean Moores, Greenhealth Magazine

At a quarterly meeting, an associate at Littleton Adventist Hospital suggested that the hospital implement a sustainability program. Recognizing how well caring for the environment aligns with their mission, the Sustainability Advisory Committee (affectionately called the green team) began as a grassroots effort in 2008. It is now one of the premier environmental sustainability programs not just in Colorado, but across the entire country.

The program started with the hospital taking inventory of all existing initiatives that could be classified as green and began assessing progress on each of those initiatives. Tracking regulated medical waste started in 2006 and through education, audits and implementation of reusable sharps collection containers, the hospitals experienced a 47 percent reduction in medical waste over the course of the last decade. Littleton Adventist Hospital was the first hospital within Centura Health to put this program into practice; the program is now in all 17 Centura Health hospitals…

Littleton Adventist Hospital’s commitment to environmental stewardship has paid off. It has seen consistent improvement in areas such as recycling and energy use (with a 42.9 percent waste diversion rate in 2015, up from 34.4 percent in 2014), and through recycling, composting, reprocessing, reusing, repurposing and donations.

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Practice Greenhealth Honorees Reduced, Reused and Recycled their Way to the Top

August 17th, 2016









Practice Greenhealth’s Greening the OR Recognition Award is a competitive award which celebrates facilities that make substantial progress in reducing the impact of the surgical environment.

Here are the honorees for the 2016 Greening the OR Circle of Excellence:

  • Cleveland Clinic
  • Harborview Medical Center
  • Johns Hopkins Hospital
  • Marymount Hospital
  • Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center
  • Regions Hospital
  • University of Maryland Medical Center
  • University of Vermont Medical Center
  • Virginia Mason Medical Center
  • Yale New Haven Hospital

And here are some tools that these award-winning facilities utilize in order to make a positive environmental impact:

  • Regulated Medical Waste Reduction

  • Clinical Plastics Recycling

  • Reusable Canister Fluid
    Management Systems

  • Rigid Sterilization Containers

  • Reprocessing Single-Use
    Medical Devices

    Yale New Haven Hospital in New Haven, Connecticut, surpassed its goal to collect and purchase 75 percent reprocessed compression devices, diagnostic ultrasound catheters, EP catheters and cables, external fixation devices, opened and unused or expired devices, tourniquet cuffs, endoscopic trocars and laparoscopic devices and achieved a 78 percent compliance rate in 2015. As a result, the hospital was able to save 20 tons of waste and $12,000 in avoided waste disposal costs. On the purchasing side, Yale New Haven Hospital was able to save more than $1.2 million on purchasing reprocessed single-use medical devices.

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Sustainability and Fiscal Sensibility

August 12th, 2016

PGH 8.11






Maintaining an ecofriendly supply chain puts the ‘eco’ in economics.

Source: Sean Moores, Greenhealth Magazine

In supply chain management, it often all comes down to the financial bottom line. So how does a health system balance environmental responsibility with the challenges of ensuring ready and affordable access to the materials and equipment necessary for its day-to-day operations?

Health systems trying to minimize their impact on the environment while lowering costs and retaining a competitive advantage are finding it is possible to create a sustainable supply chain and still be responsive to financial obligations…

Companies can’t give up their competitive advantage to become sustainable or they won’t be in business for long. There must be tangible benefits from green supply chain initiatives in addition to environmental conservation.

The good news is that there is often a direct financial benefit to creating a sustainable supply chain beyond the positive public perception that comes with being ecofriendly. Sustainability can help direct purchasing decisions in a way that will provide benefits for both the business and the environment…


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EMMC Recycling in Every Operating Room

August 11th, 2016


Eastern Maine Medical Center is going green.

They’re now recycling all of the trash in their operating rooms.

“I’m used to recycling household trash for a long time, but it’s an entirely different level to do it in a hospital, in an operating room environment,” said Dr. Karl-Heinz Spittler, Chief of Anesthesia.

After a successful year of recycling in two of their operating rooms, Eastern Maine Medical Center is rolling out a green bin in every OR in the hospital.

“I’ve been thinking about it for a very long time and finally made it work and made it streamline and as simple as possible. It does feel good,” said Dr. Varun Dixit, an anesthesiologist and coordinator of the recycling project.

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Source: Brenna Kelly, WABI TV5 

Going Green Starts with Surgeon Demand

July 28th, 2016


In a recent article for Healio, Dr. John A. Hovanesian discusses the environmental and financial implications of excess waste associated with the single-use surgical supplies market, as well as the regulatory and industry changes that could reduce the level of waste in the OR without sacrificing patient safety:

“Federal and state regulators and hospital policymakers currently see little reason to stray from policies of “use once and discard” that generate so much waste. Companies profit by selling more product this way. But well-done studies in first-rate hospitals have shown repeatedly that providing high-quality care does not require the generation of so much waste…”

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Dispelling the Myth of Single Use Device Reprocessing

July 18th, 2016


Dispelling the Myth of Single Use Device Reprocessing: How This ASC Saved $59k & Diverted 4.7k Lbs of Waste

Source: Mary Rechtoris, Becker’s ASC Review

Madison Surgery Center‘s successful partnership with Stryker Sustainability Solutions provides a real world example of the health, safety, waste management, and cost-saving benefits that third party reprocessing can offer to health care systems:

Madison (Wis.) Surgery Center’s strong commitment to being eco-friendly spurred the surgery center to begin using single-use device reprocessing, which also accrued substantial cost savings for the center. Nearly a year after implementing its SUD reprocessing program, the ambulatory surgery center had net savings totaling $59,789 and diverted nearly 4,738 pounds of waste.

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UK Opens Door to Re-Manufacturing of Single-Use Devices

July 15th, 2016





by Vibha Sharma

New guidance from the UK MHRA sets out the conditions under which re-manufacturing of single-use devices is allowed; new CE mark needed and re-manufacturer assumes legal responsibility.

The UK Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency has issued new guidelines that open the door to re-manufacturers of single-use devices (SUDs) by setting out the conditions under which the activity is allowed.

The final guidance clarifies that re-manufacturing is different from re-processing/refurbishment; the MHRA does not allow SUD re-processing. (Also see “UK MHRA consults on single-use device remanufacturing” – Medtech Insight, 23 Jul, 2015.)

The key difference between a re-processor and re-manufacturer is that the latter needs to have a CE mark to bring a product to the market. This point is made in the guideline. In addition, the guideline states that the re-manufacturer would assume the full legal responsibility and liability for the re-manufactured device…

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Is There a Sustainability Imperative for the Healthcare Industry?

July 7th, 2016

green healthcareSource: Lisa Xia, Huffington Post

Healthcare, as we know it, is simply not sustainable. With growing realities including escalating costs shifting market access models; stakeholder and regulatory scrutiny; low patient trust; and an evolving physical environment threatening human health — the industry knows it needs to make itself more sustainable — but the answers might not be so easy to find.

Most healthcare multinationals have long invested in some type of philanthropy, sustainability or CSR programs, although to varying degrees. Typically, these investments focus on the core challenge that healthcare faces as an industry — access to medicine and care. The approach so far has been mostly through philanthropy programs to expand access to those who can’t afford it any other way. Those that go beyond this main challenge tend to do some additional work around three core CSR pillars: people (employee health, community investment, science education); planet (operational efficiency, product stewardship); and performance (business innovation, financial sustainability).

Here are some key practices for ensuring sustainability practices are integrated as part of a holistic approach to healthcare and that they occur at a higher, more strategic level within healthcare systems:

  • Healthcare companies must have a point-of-view about a future healthcare system of the future that is sustainable, delivers access, and presents a value proposition that puts patient results at least equal to profits.
  • As an industry focused on human health, healthcare must be an advocate for policy and partnership that drastically cuts environmental footprint — not just a supporter of environmental stewardship.
  • Being a differentiated company that proactively pursues sustainability integration will create a competitive advantage to customers and get ahead of potential regulation…..

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Four Major Hidden Costs Of Disposing Medical Waste

June 29th, 2016

Waste Management

Source: Carmelo Hannity, The Global Dispatch

The disposal of medical waste may seem like pretty straightforward process. Although the regulations of medical waste disposal have changed over the years, the safety and environmental concerns surrounding such waste are clear. Regardless of whether you’re managing a doctor’s office, blood bank or laboratory, medical waste disposal is a crucial component of  keeping your business in practice and following the law.

Unfortunately, some medical practices find themselves in a financial squeeze when it comes to throwing out waste. If you haven’t done your homework, it’s quite possible that you’re losing unnecessary cash each time your waste is picked up. As more and more practices search for ways to reduce operating expenses, you may be spending way more on waste management than your budget should allow.

The question remains: how do you know if you’re overpaying?

By uncovering the four hidden costs of disposing medical waste, you can streamline your disposal management process, keep your practice’s budget in check, and stay in line with government regulations…

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Kaiser Permanente on a Mission to Become Carbon Positive

June 23rd, 2016


Health system strives to become carbon positive with full recycling of nonhazardous waste.


Re-emphasizing its commitment to sustainability, Kaiser Permanente, Oakland, Calif., is pursuing ambitious new environmental goals that include becoming carbon positive, buying only sustainably produced food and sending zero waste to landfills by 2025.

The objective is to become carbon net positive without increasing the overall cost of the energy purchased to power its hospitals and other buildings, says Ramé Hemstreet, chief energy officer, Kaiser Permanente.

The health system’s carbon emissions are now 810,000 metric tons, but Hemstreet projects that this number will drop to about 600,000 metric tons when the health system’s new solar and wind projects are fully operational in 2017.

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