Author: Deborah Fleischer
U.S. hospitals contribute 8 percent of our total carbon footprint, creating 2 million tons of waste annually.
“Sustainability is preventative medicine on a grand scale,” said Kathy Gerwig, vice president of employee safety, health and wellness at Kaiser Permanente.
A key message: Sustainability is not only good for the planet and the pocketbook, but it also supports total health.
Gerwig recommends reprocessing programs as one of the five best practices for achieving sustainability:
Start a reprocessing program
Here is a fact that should make hospital administrators pay attention: According to Gerwig, over the past 10 years, Kaiser Permanente has saved over $55 million from its reprocessing program alone. For fiscal year 2014-2015, through partnerships with Hygia, Masimo and Stryker, single-use devices collected in the surgery department, electrophysiology lab and patient rooms for reprocessing saved UCSF over $1 million. It makes me wonder why every hospital and medical center has not jumped on this best practice. Gerwig stressed, “Greening is not more expensive for us — it is a myth that it costs more.”