Sustainability Efforts Could Save Health Care Sector $15 Billion over 10 Years

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<p class="p1">Can the nation’s hospitals "go green" and save money in the process? According to a new study released today on <a href="/publications/issue-briefs/2012/nov/can-sustainable-hospitals-help-bend-health-care-cost-curve"></a>, the adoption of a range of environmentally sustainable policies by the health care sector could yield in excess of $5.4 billion in savings over five years, and $15 billion over a decade.</p><p class="p1">The new report <em><a href="/publications/issue-briefs/2012/nov/can-sustainable-hospitals-help-bend-health-care-cost-curve">Can Sustainable Hospitals Help Bend the Health Care Cost Curve?</a>, </em>which is sponsored by the Healthier Hospitals Initiative (HHI) and Health Care Without Harm through grants from The Commonwealth Fund and The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, examines the changes undertaken by nine health systems and hospitals across the United States in such areas as waste management, energy use reduction, and operating room supply procurement. Each hospital realized significant savings, even those that made initial investments to adopt the sustainability program. </p>
<p class="p1">"This study turns on its head the belief that introducing environmental sustainability measures increases operating costs," said Blair L. Sadler, J.D., an author of the study and a senior fellow at the Institute for Healthcare Improvement. "It is good for patients and staff, and it’s a better strategy than having to lay off valuable personnel or closing effective programs that lose money."</p>
<p class="p1">Also be sure to read commentaries on the study findings by <a href="/blog/2012/how-sustainability-strategy-can-positively-impact-health-care-organizations-bottom-line">Jeffrey Thompson</a>, M.D., CEO of Gundersen Health System, and <a href="/blog/2012/sustainable-hospitals-can-help-bend-cost-curve-kaiser-permanentes-environmental">George C. Halvorson</a>, chairman and CEO of Kaiser Permanente. The Commonwealth Fund will also be hosting a webinar on green initiatives in health care; stay tuned for details.</p>