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EPA’s Trailblazer Awards Honor Six Maryland Hospitals

Release Date: 11/09/2009
Contact Information: Donna Heron 215-814-5113, heron.donna@epa.gov

PHILADELPHIA (November 9, 2009) -- In a ceremony Friday at the Environmental Excellence in Health Care Conference held at the University of Maryland School of Nursing, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency recognized six Maryland hospitals with Trailblazer Awards for their environmental leadership.

Award recipients are Atlantic General Hospital, Berlin, Md., Franklin Square Hospital Center, Baltimore, Md., LifeBridge Health, a health system based in Baltimore with hospitals located in Baltimore and Randallstown, Md., Montgomery General Hospital, Olney, Md., the University of Maryland Medical Center, Baltimore, Md., and the Veterans Affairs Maryland Health Care System, with three facilities in Baltimore and Perry Point, Md.

EPA’s Trailblazer Award recognizes hospitals in Maryland that have served as models for other hospitals and shown leadership in moving their facilities toward sustainable practices. These hospitals are helping pave the for all area hospitals.

“These hospitals are successfully demonstrating leadership and innovation in reducing their environmental footprint,” noted Virginia Thompson, sustainable healthcare sector manager for the mid-Atlantic region of EPA. “They have undertaken a challenging task and have produced measurable results in many cases, demonstrating what can be accomplished when hospitals take advantage both of senior executive support and grounds-up initiative from across the hospitals’ many departments.”

Atlantic General Hospital is receiving the Trailblazer Award for implementing performance contracting resulting in energy and water conservation, and for communicating about the program both internally and externally. The results are being confirmed and verified by a performance assurance engineer using methodology developed by three independent authorities.

Franklin Square Hospital Center is receiving the Trailblazer Award for developing holistic sustainable policies that will serve as a foundation for the entire Medstar Healthcare System. Activities include instituting environmentally preferable purchasing, significantly reducing use of DEHP-containing products coming into the hospital (which has been adversely linked to health problems in animals), involving the nursing community in making strides toward sustainability, reducing chemical use, and closing the on-site incinerator, thus reducing water use by 13 million gallons annually.

LifeBridge Health is receiving the Trailblazer Award for adopting a corporate-wide set of waste management policies, instituting environmentally preferable purchasing practices, implementing a food waste reduction and composting program, building sustainable aspects into a new patient area, and reducing greenhouse gases through energy and water conservation methods.

Montgomery General Hospital is receiving the Trailblazer Award for participating in an integrated pest management pilot program with the Maryland Pesticide Network, hosting an Earth Day fair, developing a farmers’ market, reclaiming wetlands to reduce storm water runoff, coordinating a robust recycling program, developing a guide to waste management that can be adopted by other facilities, and having a hospital representative participate in the county solid waste advisory committee.

The University of Maryland Medical Center is receiving the Trailblazer Award for establishing a university farmers’ market, signing the Healthy Food in Health Care pledge, encouraging group purchasing organizations to phase out dairy products containing recombinant bovine growth hormone (which has been adversely linked to health problems in animals and human,) and reducing greenhouse gases by providing opportunities for patients, staff, and the community to purchase locally grown food.

The Veterans Affairs Maryland Health Care System is receiving the Trailblazer Award for developing an environmental management system (EMS) and using the EMS to guide environmentally preferable purchasing decisions, reducing energy and water use, purchasing local foods, and developing written procedures for minimizing the purchase and use of hazardous chemicals.

During the conference, EPA also honored Maryland Hospitals for a Healthy Environment, an organization that has been key to successfully moving hospitals across Maryland toward more sustainable operations with a smaller environmental footprint.

Medical care in the U.S. is about one-sixth of the nation’s economy. Since 1998 EPA has been working with the healthcare sector to reduce its environmental impact and to help find solutions for reducing pollution, which can make an enormous difference in environmental health and the financial bottom line.

For more information, go to: www.epa.gov/Region3/green/healthcare2009_07_02.html.