Madigan earns national environmental award
May 20, 2010
- Madigan Healthcare System has been awarded the Partner for Change, With Distinction Award from Practice Greenhealth
- the Partner for Change Award recognizes health care facilities that have achieved improvements in their environmental sustainability efforts
- Madigan is virtually mercury-free, and was the first hospital in MEDCOM to receive the accomplishment
- More than 40 percent of Madigan's solid waste has been diverted from a landfill
TACOMA, Wash. -- Madigan Healthcare System has been awarded the Partner for Change, With Distinction Award from Practice Greenhealth. Madigan received the award May 12 at the CleanMed Conference in Baltimore.
The Partner for Change, With Distinction Award recognizes health care facilities that have achieved improvements in their mercury elimination, waste reduction and pollution prevention programs. This includes at least 15 percent recycling, an extensive sustainability program and a show of leadership in the local community and/or in the health care sector.
Accepting the award for Madigan was Linda Palmer, Logistics' Environmental Services branch. Also playing a pivotal role was Mike Kyser, Preventive Medicine, Environmental Health Services branch. "This award sets Madigan apart from the rest of the Military Treatment Facilities," Kyser said. "Madigan is the model for sustainability and protecting the environment."
Practice Greenhealth is the nation's leading membership and networking organization for institutions in the health care community that have made a commitment to sustainable, eco-friendly practices, according to the Practice Greenhealth Web site.
In 2009, the U.S. Army Medical Command contracted with Weston Solutions to develop a Sustainability Strategic Plan. Madigan had already met or exceeded many of the plan's requirements and MEDCOM nominated the hospital to compete for the Partner for Change award. The award's application process was extremely detailed, asking for a complete overview of Madigan's environmental sustainability programs and successes, Kyser said. "We have adopted the sustainability culture from the leadership on down and that is what makes Madigan stand out from the rest."
Some of the hospital's successes include:
Aca,!Ac Green Committee Sub-Committee of Safety and Environment of Care - The Green Committee meets monthly to determine ways to promote initiatives in support of Joint Base Lewis-McChord and MEDCOM's sustainability strategic goals and objectives. "Our Green Committee is the leader for all of MEDCOM in implementing the strategic sustainability plans," Palmer said. "The committee members feel strongly about sustainability and really want to make a difference for the environment."
Aca,!Ac Earned "Most Consistent Recycler" Award from Army Garrison Joint Base Lewis-McChord.
Aca,!Ac Madigan is virtually mercury-free, and was the first hospital in MEDCOM to receive the accomplishment "The Making Medicine Mercury Free Award" by Hospitals for a Healthy Environment (now Practice Greenhealth). Madigan has set strict benchmarks for mercury elimination. Only mercury-free hospitals are able to apply for the Partner for Change award. "We were the first in MEDCOM to be mercury-free, first to receive the Partner for Change award, and the first when it comes to sustainability," Palmer said.
Aca,!Ac More than 40 percent of solid waste has been diverted from a landfill. The Partner for Change, With Distinction award required only a diversion rate of 15 percent.
Aca,!Ac Robust Rideshare program - Madigan encourages employees to find alternative transportation methods to come to work. Staff members can establish a van or car pool, ride the bus or walk or bike to work. Currently, about 10 percent of the staff uses one of these alternative methods instead of driving a single-occupancy vehicle.
Palmer and Kyser work closely together to integrate other departments into a sustainability culture. Credit-card holders can only buy cleaning products that can be put safely down the drain and will not harm fish. Contracting and Materials must find a product that is mercury-free or look for a substitute. "By bringing more individuals within the facility on board, we really make this a team effort and everyone has buy-in," Palmer said.
The new Nisqually Family Medicine Clinic scheduled to open soon has been certified by Leadership Energy and Environmental Design as a "Gold" standard building, and is the first in MEDCOM to achieve that rating. The new clinic's restroom stalls are in compliance with the Americans with Disabilities Act by having the capability to swing both ways and can be unlocked from the outside. The building has many initiatives to recover recyclable materials, there are plug-in outlets for electric motor vehicles and parking spaces have been designated for low-emission vehicles. All future MEDCOM buildings will be certified as being at least LEED "Silver."
MEDCOM has defined a successful sustainability program as one that "recognizes the need for an organization to accomplish its mission and be both financially and environmentally responsible while also contributing to and protecting the surrounding community." Madigan's sustainability program has been recognized by both MEDCOM and JBLM as meeting and exceeding these goals, and is a major factor to why the hospital won this award, Kyser said.