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EPA Honors Four Philadelphia-area Hospitals with First Trailblazer Award

Release Date: 10/17/2007
Contact Information: Donna Heron 215-814-5113 / heron.donna@epa.gov

PHILADELPHIA (October 17, 2007) -- In a ceremony today at the annual meeting of the Delaware Valley Healthcare Council, EPA Regional Administrator Donald S. Welsh presented Trailblazer Awards to Abington Memorial Hospital, Albert Einstein Healthcare Network, Holy Redeemer Health System, and Thomas Jefferson University Hospital for their environmental leadership.

As its name implies, this new award recognizes hospitals that are truly blazing the trail so that other hospitals may build on their success and implement similar programs a bit more easily, Welsh said.

These Philadelphia-area hospitals deserve credit for taking positive steps to reduce waste, improve indoor air quality, and invest in reusable rather than disposable products, Welsh added.

EPA has been working with the healthcare sector to reduce its environmental impact since 1998. As part of this work, EPA’s mid-Atlantic region provided a $78,500 grant in 2006 to the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection for a Green Hospitals Initiative. Other partners in the Green Hospitals Initiative include the Health Care Improvement Foundation and the Women’s Health & Environmental Network (WHEN).

The winners of the Trailblazer Awards are all participants in the Green Hospitals Initiative and are being honored for their leadership in the Philadelphia area in reducing their environmental impact on patients, workers, and the surrounding community.

At Albert Einstein Healthcare Network, a plastic material in intravenous tubing, blood bags and other products used in neonatal intensive care units is being eliminated. The plastic, DEHP or di(2-ethylhexyl) phthalate, can leach a hormone-like chemical that has been linked to reproductive problems.

Abington Memorial Hospital has brought together manufacturers, suppliers, group purchasing organizations and hospital executives to take advantage of their combined buying power in developing environmentally-preferable purchasing.

Holy Redeemer Health System is implementing innovative waste reduction practices, including food composting and its reuse in landscaping.

Thomas Jefferson University Hospital is in the process of implementing sustainable food practices throughout its patient and staff food operations.

The EPA also recognized 20 hospitals in the Philadelphia-area that are actively working with the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection’s Green Hospitals Initiative to reduce waste and pollution.

Medical care in the U.S. is one-seventh of the nation’s economy. Working with hospitals to find solutions for reducing pollution can make a difference in environmental health and their financial bottom line.

The 20 hospitals participating in the Green Hospitals Initiative include:

Abington Memorial Hospital
Albert Einstein Healthcare Network
Bryn Mawr Hospital
Central Montgomery Medical Center
Chestnut Hill Hospital
The Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia
Doylestown Hospital
Eastern Regional Medical Center
Fox Chase Cancer Center
Holy Redeemer Health System
Lankenau Hospital
Lower Bucks Hospital
Mercy Suburban Hospital
Methodist Hospital
Nazareth Hospital
Paoli Hospital
Pennsylvania Hospital
Presbyterian Medical Center
St. Mary Medical Center
Thomas Jefferson University Hospital