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Kaiser Permanente Wins National Green Awards
Date:5/20/2008

Recognition Highlights Organization's Commitment to Environmental Health

OAKLAND, Calif., May 20 /PRNewswire/ -- Kaiser Permanente received the "System for Change" award for environmental performance today at the Practice Greenhealth Environmental Excellence Summit in Pittsburgh.

The award, which recognizes health systems that have worked to gather environmental data, set goals, and encourage eco-friendly practices, reflects Kaiser Permanente's long-standing commitment to protecting the environment.

"Just as we at Kaiser Permanente are committed to the health and safety of our members and the communities we serve, we are equally committed to the health and safety of our environment," said Raymond J. Baxter, Ph.D., senior vice president, Community Benefit, Research and Health Policy.

"If the environments that our members work, live and play in are toxic, then everything we do in physician offices and medical centers will be limited."

Kaiser Permanente leads the health care industry in green hospital building, purchasing green materials, saving energy and reducing waste. For example, Kaiser Permanente has purged 630,000 grams of mercury (about 1,430 pounds) from its system over the past several years, leaving the organization 95 percent mercury free.

"The award recognizes the tremendous efforts by Kaiser Permanente employees and physicians who consider environmental protection to be part of their contributions to improving the health of communities we serve," said Kathy Gerwig, Kaiser Permanente's vice president for workplace safety and environmental stewardship officer.

Bob Jarboe, Practice Greenhealth Executive Director, said the System for Change award recognizes organizations that are focused on environmental stewardship and see the connection between the environment and health.

"When Kaiser Permanente took a look at the big picture, the organization knew it wanted to step up its performance," Jarboe said. "The organization tackled the issue just as it would any other business challenge."

In addition to the System for Change award, Kaiser Permanente facilities and regions across the country received 11 awards in recognition of efforts to reduce waste and prevent pollution. The awards include:

-- Partner for Change Award: Kaiser Permanente Fontana (Calif.) Medical

Center, Kaiser Permanente Fremont (Calif.) Medical Center, Kaiser

Permanente Hayward (Calif.) Medical Center, Kaiser Permanente San

Francisco Medical Center, Kaiser Permanente Health Plan of Ohio, Kaiser

Permanente Health Plan of the Mid-Atlantic States

-- Making Medicine Mercury-free Award: Kaiser Foundation Health Plan of

Ohio

-- Partner Recognition Award: Kaiser Permanente Anaheim (Calif.) Medical

Center, Kaiser Foundation Health Plan of Georgia

The Practice Greenhealth Environmental Excellence Awards celebrate the achievements and commitment of health care's environmental champions. The awards give special recognition to facilities whose efforts are aimed at eliminating mercury, preventing pollution and minimizing waste. This year's awards were held in conjunction with CleanMed 2008, a global conference for environmental leaders in health care.

About Practice Greenhealth

Practice Greenhealth is the result of the merger of the two leading organizations -- Hospitals for a Healthy Environment and the Green Guide for Health Care -- with a new clean energy and energy efficiency program - Healthcare Clean Energy Exchange. For more information on Practice Greenhealth, visit http://www.practicegreenhealth.org/

About Kaiser Permanente

Kaiser Permanente is America's leading integrated health plan. Founded in 1945, it is a not-for-profit group practice prepayment program headquartered in Oakland, Calif. Kaiser Permanente serves the health care needs of 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 159,000 technical, administrative and clerical employees and caregivers, and more than 13,000 physicians representing all specialties. In 2007, Kaiser Permanente proudly directed an estimated $1 billion to fund community benefit programs to serve communities through research, community- based health partnerships, direct health coverage for low-income families and collaboration with community clinics, health departments and public hospitals. 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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