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EPA Mid-Atlantic Region Honored with Award for Helping “Green” Hospitals

Release Date: 05/21/2008
Contact Information: Donna Heron 215-814-5113 / heron.donna@epa.gov

PHILADELPHIA (May 21, 2008) – EPA’s mid-Atlantic region was one of 140 organizations recognized by Practice Greenhealth at a ceremony in Pittsburgh, Pa. today for outstanding contributions to environmentally-responsible health care.

“This award is a reflection of EPA’s ethics and represents a strong commitment to protect patient health and preserve the environment,” said Bob Jarboe, Practice Greenhealth executive director. “The stakes are high and EPA has shown us their solutions are exciting.”

“Since 2005 EPA has taken a leadership role within the mid-Atlantic states in encouraging hospitals and other healthcare facilities to move their operations toward sustainability,” said Donald S. Welsh, EPA regional administrator. “The regional office has forged alliances and brokered relationships that are creating environmental improvements. We are pleased that our efforts have been recognized.”

The issue of pharmaceuticals in the environment is one of particular concern, one that has become a high priority at EPA. Welsh said that over the past two years, EPA’s mid-Atlantic region has engaged local and national organizations to develop solutions for issues surrounding medication disposal.

Discussions with pharmaceutical manufacturers and with a hospice medication management company have identified long-term care facilities as a major source of flushed medications. EPA is preparing to co-convene a regional leadership summit this year on the issue of reducing pharmaceutical waste.

EPA is also working with individual hospitals, especially in southeast and central Pennsylvania, to gain specific commitments for more sustainable practices and to reduce their use of persistent, bioaccumulative, and toxic materials including mercury. EPA’s efforts have been enthusiastically received by hospitals. A pilot program was originally designed for eight hospitals, however, the response was so great that the project was expanded to 20 hospitals to meet the demand.

Practice Greenhealth presented the Environmental Excellence awards on the first day of CleanMed 2008, a global conference for environmental leaders in healthcare.

Practive Greenhealth is the result of the merger of two leading organizations – Hospitals for a Healthy Environment (H2E) and the Green Guide for Health Care. The merger produced a new clean energy and energy efficiency program: Healthcare Clean Energy Exchange.

EPA’s mid-Atlantic region encompasses the states of Pennsylvania, Delaware, Maryland, Virginia, and West Virginia and the District of Columbia.

For more information, go to: http://www.epa.gov/p2/pubs/psh.htm or http://www.h2eonline.org/