Sutter Health Pioneers Processes to Reduce Medical Waste, Receives National Recognition
SACRAMENTO, Calif., May 1, 2003 - For its efforts to reduce waste, eliminate mercury and prevent pollution across its not-for-profit network of community-based hospitals and physician organizations, Sutter Health has received the 2003 Champion for Change Award from the Hospitals for a Healthy Environment (H2E) program. H2E -- a partnership of the US Environmental Protection Agency, the American Hospital Association, the American Nurses Association and Health Care Without Harm -- recognizes Sutter Health for initiating innovative environmental programs that help make health care delivery even safer for patients, employees and the community.
"Sutter is helping change the culture of its industry by developing new ways to combat pollution from health care products and practices," said Laura Brannen, director of the H2E program.
Sutter Health was the first health provider network to participate with the California Department of Health Services to implement the Healthcare Pollution Prevention Program (HP3). Results of the partnership include an environmental training program for hazardous materials coordinators, completion of mercury assessments by all Sutter facilities, development of mercury reduction action plans, implementation of a mercury-free purchasing policy, and introduction of the Microfiber mop system that uses less chemicals.
"Hospitals across our network deserve high praise for successfully removing from use 56 percent of traditional medical products that contain mercury," said Sutter Health Senior Vice President and Chief Risk Officer Michael Evans. "Our hazardous materials coordinators are helping make patient care even safer and healthier, and they're leading the way for other health care providers to do the same."
Evans explained that Sutter-affiliated facilities are striving to be "mercury free" by 2005. "Mercury free" would define those facilities that fully replace thermometers and other products that traditionally use mercury with modern substitutes that don't contain mercury. Traditional products could become a health hazard if they break; the new products are safer alternatives.
Nine Sutter affiliates received H2E Making Mercury Free and/or Partner Recognition Awards, including Alta Bates Summit Medical Center, Mills Peninsula Health Services, Sutter Auburn Faith Hospital, Sutter Davis Hospital, Sutter Lakeside Hospital, Sutter Medical Center, Sacramento, Sutter Medical Center of Santa Rosa, Sutter Roseville Medical Center and Sutter Warrack Hospital.
Sutter Health is one of the nation's leading not-for-profit networks of community-based health care providers, delivering high-quality care in more than 100 Northern California communities. It is also the regional leader in infant deliveries, neonatology, orthopedics, pediatrics and cancer care services. Sutter Health supports more than two dozen locally run acute care hospitals as well as physician organizations; medical research facilities; regionwide home health, hospice and occupational health networks; and long-term care centers.