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Kaiser Permanente Joins With Top Health Care Groups to Create Healthier Hospital Environments
Date:10/18/2007

Oakland Event Kicks Off Sector-Wide Initiative

OAKLAND, Calif., Oct. 18 /PRNewswire/ -- Kaiser Permanente, a leader in green building and environmentally responsible purchasing, has partnered with a group of influential health care organizations to help spread green practices across the industry.

As a founding member of the Global Health and Safety Initiative, Kaiser Permanente aims to share best practices and help to broaden the market for cleaner energy, safer products and innovative environmental technologies.

"If we collaborate, we can create leverage in the marketplace for safer and healthier practices that protect patients and staff while reducing our overall environmental footprint," said George C. Halvorson, chairman and CEO of Kaiser Foundation Health Plan, Inc., and Kaiser Foundation Hospitals. "Our hope is that through the Global Health and Safety Initiative, many more leaders in the health care sector will realize that being green is a team sport."

Health care is one of the largest and fastest growing sectors of the economy, representing more than 15 percent of the nation's gross national product. Health care facilities in the United States generate 2 million tons of waste per year that pose occupational and environmental threats. In addition, health care accounts for 11 percent of all commercial energy use in America and is a major water consumer.

Kaiser Permanente has broad experience with green building, environmentally responsible purchasing and sustainable operations. Over the past five years, for example, Kaiser Permanente has chosen ecologically sustainable materials for 29 million square feet in new construction, prevented the release of 70 billion pounds of air pollutants annually and saved more than $10 million per year through energy conservation strategies.

Global Health and Safety Initiative partners include the nonprofit groups Health Care Without Harm, the Center for Health Design, and Hospitals for a Healthy Environment.

The initiative kicked off Oct. 17 with a meeting in Oakland, Calif., where the group announced plans to work together on high-priority objectives, including:

-- A purchasing task force to prioritize safer and environmentally

sustainable products and supplies, and a sector-wide sustainable

purchasing strategy to drive markets for cleaner energy, safer

products, and innovative green technologies.

-- The development of a new eco-footprint model for health care to engage

the sector in policies to support an agenda that includes avoiding

toxic, hazardous materials -- areas not previously included in

eco-footprint analyses.

-- The establishment of a research collaborative to provide the evidence

and justification to remove obstacles to innovations in the health care

environment.

-- Creation of an open-source community to share best practices in the

construction and operation of energy efficient, non-toxic health care

environments.

The Global Health and Safety Initiative Co-Founders: Allina Hospitals and Clinics, Ascension Health, Bon Secours, Catholic Healthcare West, Cleveland Clinic Foundation, Geisinger Health System, Health Alliance of Greater Cincinnati, Henry Ford Health Systems, Hospital Sisters Health Systems, Kaiser Permanente, Presbyterian Healthcare Services - Albuquerque, St. Joseph of Orange, University of California - San Francisco Medical Center, University of Chicago Medical Center, University of Michigan Medical Center, The Center for Health Design, Health Care Without Harm, Hospitals for a Healthy Environment.

Supporting Non-profit Organizations: American Nurses Association, American Society for Healthcare Engineering, Green Guide for Healthcare, Institute for Healthcare Improvement, Joint Commission, U.S. Green Building Council.

Supporting Government Agencies: U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health, U.S. Department of Defense (Healthcare), U.S. Department of Energy, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency - Region 9.

Supporting Group Purchasing Organizations: Broadlane, Consorta, Novation, Premier.

Kaiser Permanente is America's leading integrated health plan. Founded in 1945, it is a not-for-profit group practice program headquartered in Oakland, Calif. Kaiser Permanente serves 8.7 million members in nine states and the District of Columbia. Today it encompasses the not-for-profit Kaiser Foundation Health Plan, Inc., Kaiser Foundation Hospitals and their subsidiaries, and the for-profit Permanente Medical Groups. Nationwide, Kaiser Permanente includes approximately 156,000 technical, administrative and clerical employees and caregivers, and more than 13,000 physicians representing all specialties. For more Kaiser Permanente news, visit the KP News Center at: http://xnet.kp.org/newscenter.


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SOURCE Kaiser Permanente
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