It was formed in 2010 to improve providers' sustainable purchasing practices and boost the hospital sector's environmental health. Areas of focus include developing healthier food practices at healthcare facilities, reducing energy use and waste, and reprocessing single-use medical devices.
“Healthcare facilities, their business partners and content experts have moved beyond the traditional competitiveness and joined together as an industry to share their successes and failures, challenges and opportunities, and best practices and lessons learned,” the report's authors wrote.
The initiative aims to enroll 1,500 hospitals by this time next year, as environmental concerns increasingly are identified as a strategic risk for healthcare providers, said Gary Cohen, president of Health Care Without Harm and founder of HHI.
The report also found that the 370 hospitals it surveyed recycled 50 million pounds of waste, spent millions of dollars on PVC/DEHP-free products, and saved $32 million as a result of reprocessing, a practice that has become more common for hospitals during the past decade.
However, Cohen said, participating hospitals could do more to implement energy-efficient measures and build off their collective purchasing power to rely less on the use of toxic chemicals in their facilities. “It's within their mission to do so,” he said.
Participants include Bon Secours Health System, Inova Health System, Tenet Healthcare, Catholic Health Initiatives, Kaiser Permanente and HCA.
Several of the sponsoring hospital systems also helped found the Partnership for a Healthier America, a not-for-profit organization that has a healthy food program for hospitals that is closely aligned with the HHI food program.
Follow Jaimy Lee on Twitter: @MHjlee