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EPA Recognizes 11 New England Health Care Facilities For Environmental Efforts

Release Date: 04/21/2003
Contact Information: Andrew Spejewski, EPA Press Office, 617-918-1014

BOSTON - The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency is recognizing 11 New England health care providers for their efforts to reduce waste and eliminate mercury from their operations. The hospitals are receiving special awards from the Hospitals for a Healthy Environment (H2E) program, a joint national program of the American Hospital Association, American Nurses Association, Health Care Without Harm and the EPA that aims to improve environmental performance in the health care sector. The 11 health care providers will be recognized during EPA's regional Environmental Merit Awards ceremony tomorrow at Boston's Faneuil Hall.

"These medical facilities and providers are having a tremendous impact in reducing mercury and making other environmental improvements," said Robert W. Varney, regional administrator for EPA's New England Office. "They deserve a lot of credit for their leadership and commitment in making a healthy environment as much a part of their work as healthy patients."

The Hospitals for a Healthy Environment (H2E) program is creating a national movement for environmental sustainability in the health care field. The goals of H2E are to eliminate the use of mercury in health care by 2005, to cut health care waste in half by 2010 and to identify and eliminate persistent, bio-accumulative and toxic chemicals in the health care system. More than 425 partners, representing nearly 1,400 health care facilities have joined H2E and are committed to achieving those goals.

A total of 100 partners in New England have pledged to the H2E effort. With 39 partners, Maine is the first state in the country to have all of its hospitals sign onto H2E. In addition to the hospitals' awards, EPA's New England Regional Office is one of seven organizations across the country to receive the "Champions for Change Award" in recognition of its work to promote pollution prevention and to bring new hospitals into the H2E program. Last week, the Massachusetts Hospital Association joined the New Hampshire and Maine Hospital Associations in the program, bringing yet another level of commitment to pollution prevention for New England hospitals.

H2E runs a website filled with tools for hospitals, including a comprehensive list of mercury reduction resources and a step-by-step approach to minimizing waste. H2E also provides health care professionals a forum to share technical information and practical strategies for pollution prevention. Health care providers can also register to become a partner online. For more information, visit http://www.h2e-online.org.

New England health care providers receiving awards include the following: (some facilities were recognized in more than one category)

2003 Environmental Leadership Award for health care facilities that have comprehensive, ongoing waste, toxicity and mercury-use reduction programs and are setting the "industry standard" for environmental practices at other hospitals. Only two facilities in the U.S. received this award.

    • Dartmouth-Hitchcock Medical Center, Lebanon, NH
2003 Making Medicine Mercury Free Award for completely eliminating mercury in their facility:
    • Cambridge Health Alliance, Cambridge, MA
    • Dartmouth-Hitchcock Medical Center, Lebanon, NH
    • Merrimack Valley Hospital, Haverhill, MA
    • Mid Coast Hospital, Brunswick, Maine
    • Visiting Nurse Association and Hospice of Western Massachusetts, Springfield, MA
2003 Partners for Change Award for making significant progress reducing waste and eliminating mercury:
    • Baystate Health System, Springfield, MA
    • Cambridge Health Alliance, Cambridge, MA
    • Fletcher Allen Health Care, Burlington, VT
    • Hartford Hospital, Hartford, CT
    • Kent County Hospital, Warwick, RI
2003 Partner Recognition Award for their work in moving towards the H2E goals:
    • Franklin Medical Center, Greenfield, MA
    • Mary Lane Hospital, Ware, MA
    • Mid Coast Hospital, Brunswick, Maine
    • Visiting Nurse Association and Hospice of Western Massachusetts, Springfield, MA