Hospitals and Health Networks (H&HN) reports that Health systems lead the effort to reduce their effects on the environment.  Regardless of what the truth is on the existence of global warming, hospitals are reducing pollution and saving money using strategies promoted by the Healthier Hospitals Initiative coalition. The Healthier Hospitals Initiative, sponsored by 13 large health systems, released its first milestone report, and was able to point to some noteworthy successes.

 The recycling of medical devices sold for single use produced savings for participants in the initiative and is expected to grow larger, says Gary Cohen, president of Health Care Without Harm, one of three not-for-profits also working on the Healthy Hospitals Initiative, the other two being the Center for Health Design and Practice Greenhealth. “There’s some really big, big savings that hospitals are getting from device reprocessing,” Cohen says.

The practice is becoming more mainstream with the added participation of some device-makers giving it a boost in recent years, he says. Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, also in Boston, implemented a single-use device-reprocessing program that in 2012 saved $375,000 and diverted almost 10,000 pounds of medical waste from either a landfill or incineration. Cohen predicts the overall numbers in the report to look even better in the future with more hospitals participating. “Next year it will look a lot more robust,” he says.

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