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Beaumont Health System Joins Healthier Hospitals Initiative

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ROYAL OAK — Beaumont Health System is only one of two organizations in Michigan and the only health system in southeast Michigan to participate in all six challenges offered as part of the Healthier Hospitals Initiative.

HHI is a national campaign urging hospitals to commit to a three-year program to improve the health and safety of patients, hospital employees and community members by participating in six core requirements and tracking their progress.

HHI challenges include:
* Engage in leadership on environmental health and sustainability
* Serve healthier foods and beverages
* Reduce energy use
* Reduce waste and recycle
* Use safer chemicals
* Purchase environmentally preferable products

“By signing up for the six initiatives, we will work to improve the health of people throughout our organization and in our communities,” says Kay Winokur, vice president of quality and professional services and Green Team co-chair at  Beaumont Hospital, Royal Oak. “Health care costs are on the rise. By focusing on our sustainability efforts, we can reduce expenses and free up other resources to do what we do best — provide the highest quality of care at the best value for our patients.”

“We currently have a number of programs in place that support these challenges, such as our Green Team members who work every day to encourage and educate Beaumont leaders and staff on ways to reduce, reuse and recycle,” said Nicole Duncan, administrative director and Green Team co-chair, Beaumont, Royal Oak.

Challenges the hospital must adopt, include working with vendors who follow environmentally responsible practices; reduce and recycle 15 percent of total waste; decrease energy usage by 10 percent; and commit to using eco-friendly cleaning supplies.

To achieve the healthier food and beverage challenge, Beaumont will reduce beef, pork, poultry and lunch meat purchases by 20 percent within three years. The use of tap water over bottled water will be promoted, and local or sustainable food purchases will be made.

“By this time next year, there will be a noticeable difference at all three of our hospitals and throughout the entire organization,” says Duncan. “Drinking fountains will be modified to allow for water bottles to be easily refilled; fish or vegetarian entrees will be offered on a daily basis for patients and employees; vending machines will offer healthier options such as foods that are low salt, low calorie and have little or no fat; and we will work more closely with local farmers affiliated with the Eastern Market program for food purchases.”

Beaumont joins more than 500 hospitals across the United States in this initiative, which is coordinated by Practice Greenhealth, Health Care Without Harm and the Center for Health Design. Beaumont is one of 36 hospitals nationwide who have signed up for all six challenges.

The Healthier Hospitals Initiative is a national campaign to implement a completely new approach to improving environmental health and sustainability in the health care sector. Eleven of the largest, most influential U.S. health systems, with more than $20 billion in purchasing power, helped to create HHI as a guide for hospitals to improve sustainability. Sponsoring health systems include Advocate Health Care, Bon Secours Health System, Catholic Health Initiatives, Dignity Health (formerly Catholic Healthcare West), Hospital Corporation of America, Inova Health System, Kaiser Permanente, MedStar Health, Partners HealthCare, Tenet Health Systems and Vanguard Health Systems. More information is available at www.healthierhospitals.org.

Beaumont’s Green Team leaders and 225 green officers are committed to implementing cost-effective solutions to reduce waste and conserve energy, while providing education to employees to learn more about environmental issues. Through efforts to reduce energy and water consumption, Beaumont saves a minimum of $1.3 million each year. In 2011, Beaumont earned $83,000 from recycling paper, plastic, glass and other materials.

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