|Eighteen Kaiser Permanente facilities
were singled out in April 2003 for exemplary accomplishments
from Hospitals for a Healthy Environment (H2E), a partnership
of the American Hospital Association, the U.S. Environmental
Protection Agency, the American Nurses Association and Health
Care Without Harm. Kaiser Permanente also received an award
from the Healthy Building Network for accelerating the transformation
to healthier building materials through purchasing policies
Our mission is and always has been to improve the health
of the communities in which we serve, and that includes an emphasis
on environmental stewardship, said George Halvorson, chairman
and CEO of Kaiser Foundation Health Plan and Hospitals. We
continually work to improve the environmental friendliness of
our existing medical facilities, and the designs for new facilities
reflect our commitment to environmentally state-of-the-art construction
and materials. Whats good for our environment is going
to be good for our members, our staff and the community as a
As physicians, we think the Hippocratic Oath says it all:
Above all, do no harm, added Jay Crosson, M.D., executive
director of The Permanente Federation. That
credo applies to the environment as well as to our patients.
Kaiser Permanentes environmental initiatives are grouped
into three main areas:
1. Green Buildings
Incorporating sustainable design and construction practices
through environmentally sound facility templates used in all
new construction and re-builds. These practices incorporate:
* Implementing efficient water and energy systems.
* Using the least toxic building materials.
* Recycling demolition debris, diverting thousands of tons
of materials from landfills.
* Making use of daylight whenever possible.
* Managing storm water to enhance surrounding habitats.
* Reducing site development area
(e.g., total gross square footage) to concentrate and limit
total paving and other site disturbances.
* Installing over 50 acres of reflective roofing.
* Publishing an Eco Toolkit reference book, providing it to
Kaiser Permanente capital project team members and more than
50 architects and design alliance partners.
2. Environmentally Responsible Purchasing
Kaiser Permanente incorporates environmental considerations
into targeted national contracts. These considerations include:
* Reducing the toxicity and volume of waste.
* Increasing post-consumer recycled content.
* Selecting reusable and durable products.
* Eliminating mercury content.
* Selecting products free from polyvinyl chloride (PVC) and
di-2- ethylhexyl phthalate (DEHP).
3. Sustainable Operations
Activities designed to ensure its commitment to sustainable
* Waste minimization resulting in the recycling of nine million
* Electronic equipment disposition resulting in the recycling
of 36,000 electronic devices containing
10,500 lbs of lead.
* Optimal reuse of products which led to reprocessing 53,851
pounds of medical devices and supplies.
* Capital equipment redistribution.
* Greening janitorial cleaning products.
* Recycling and reuse of 8,300 gallons of solvents.
* Energy conservation resulting in the recycling of 30,000
spent fluorescent lamps.
|In the course
of its first year, KPs Environmental Stewardship Council
has achieved many impressive accomplishments. It has diverted
more than 8,000 tons of material from municipal landfills through
reuse or recycling efforts; 97,000 pieces of electronic equipment,
collectively weighing approximately one million pounds, were
reused within KP, redeployed outside KP or recycled domestically;
20,000 of these units were outdated monitors containing 140,000
pounds of lead. In addition, disposal avoidance savings in excess
of $1 million were realized. In 2002, 70 million pounds of air
pollutants were prevented by implementation of standard energy
conservation measures for lighting, temperature control and
physical plant equipment updates.
Mercury pollution has long been a health risk. In 2002, KP removed
in excess of 500 pounds of mercury from a local community by
holding a public mercury fever thermometer exchange. Over 80
percent of its healthcare operations are more than 90 percent
mercury-free (based on third party assessments). It is currently
assessing the remaining facilities in anticipation of being
virtually mercury-free by 2005. Also
in 2002, KP recycled 270,000 fluorescent lamps preventing approximately
189,000 pounds of mercury-contaminated waste from entering municipal
|IS A COHERENT NATIONAL HEALTH POLICY POSSIBLE?
|Epidemic of Care offers a comprehensive assessment of the
factors behind the healthcare cost crisis, how the crisis will
escalate and what can be done to improve the situation. A blueprint
for getting to a coherent national health policy, this book
calls for a collaboration between different parts of the private
sector, state and local governments, and, at times, the federal
governmentwith a formula that can succeed no matter who
rules Congress. Authors George C. Halvorson and George J. Isham,
M.D.two individuals who have made an impressive impact
on the national healthcare scene
provide some practical, field-tested, sometimes controversial
suggestions about how to make healthcare in this country more
accountable, more efficient, more valuable and more affordable.