Washington Hospital Healthcare System Receives Awards


In recognition of successful programs to reduce environmental impact, Washington Hospital Healthcare System has received two awards from Practice Greenhealth, the nation’s leading organization dedicated to environmental sustainability in health care. These Environmental Excellence Awards are given each year to honor environmental achievements in the health care sector.

“We are very proud of these honors,” said Nancy Farber, chief executive officer of the 341-bed, acute care hospital. “As health care providers, sustainability is at the core of our healing mission and central to protecting the health of our patients, staff and community.”

First, Washington Hospital received a Partner for Change Award from Practice Greenhealth, the seventh time this honor has been presented to the Hospital.

The Partner for Change Award recognizes health care facilities that continuously improve and expand upon programs to eliminate mercury, reduce and recycle waste, source products sustainably, and more. Winning facilities must demonstrate that they are recycling at least 15 percent of their total waste, have reduced regulated medical waste, are on track to eliminate mercury, and have developed successful sustainability programs in many areas.

Second, the Hospital has been honored for the first time with a Greening the OR Recognition Award.

The OR Recognition Award acknowledges facilities that demonstrate success in reducing the environmental impact of its surgical suites. Operating rooms are large contributors to a health care facility’s environmental footprint, creating opportunity for significant cost savings and sustainability improvements. The award builds on the Greening the OR Initiative led by Practice Greenhealth, which in 2015 alone helped participating facilities save $41.7 million while avoiding 2,150 tons of waste and more than 9 million kWhs of energy.

Hospital improvements that led to the Practice Greenhealth recognition include water reduction efforts through the replacement of older technologies with new ones that use less water, such as sterilizers and chillers.

“In addition to replacing technology, we’ve replaced a lot of landscape with more drought-tolerant landscaping,” said Paul Kelley, director of Biomedical Engineering and leader of Washington Hospital’s Green Team. “One such landscaping project consisted of using river rocks that were dug up during construction of our new Morris Hyman Critical Care Pavilion which will open in 2018. Another example is our continued reduction of paper usage, plus an increase in the recycled content of our copy paper.”

Changes in the OR include a single-use reprocessing program.

“We’ve started a single-use reprocessing program that reduces our environmental impact while maintaining patient safety,” explained Kelley, “and continued our OR recycling program, which diverts noncontaminated paper and plastics from surgical cases. We also have new methods to eliminate wasted materials from surgical cases.”

The awards were presented at the Practice Greenhealth Environmental Excellence Awards Gala in Minneapolis, Minnesota, at the conclusion of the CleanMed Conference & Exhibition.