Being a medical facility director means that you are constantly looking for ways to trim your budget, while still providing best-in-class care for your patients and empowering your staff.

Will making your facility “green” help you meet those objectives?  Yes!!!

Making your facility more green can mean financial savings and can help make your facility more attractive to potential employees an patients due to both your sustainability efforts and a better safety record.
For example, medical facilities provide care and treatment for patients.  This means that that your staff members must deal with hazardous waste.   Examples include blood and blood products, contaminated laboratory waste,  contaminated animal waste, cultures or stocks,  or even materials that are/were saturated or dripping with blood (ex:  needles and syringes).

June 2012 article in OSHA Healthcare Advisor reported on a study by the Environmental Protection Agency that:

[H]ospitals generate approximately 7,000 tons of waste per day (there are no waste statistics for nonhospital settings), much of which is considered infectious, hazardous, or solid waste.

Even though you may not be a hospital director, your facility no doubt deals with waste daily. In addition, the article mentions a study by researchers at Johns Hopkins Medical Center that showed that “As much as 90% of what ends up as red bag waste does not meet the guidelines for red bag waste. Although hazardous waste makes up only 24% of all waste, it accounts for 86% of the cost, meaning healthcare facilities could save a significant amount of money by educating healthcare workers and making sustainability a priority in their facility.”

As a director, that means that a substantial amount of your budget may be unnecessarily spent.   It is extremely important to dispose of potentially dangerous waste the proper way, but red bags should not be treated as the general trash can. Refresher training can go a long way in helping reduce this cost.

However, there are other avenues that you can take.  A recent report found that 25% of a hospital’s operating cost goes toward meeting its energy needs, and that by simply managing their energy use, surgical practices could save between 25-45% in energy costs.  This does not mean cutting power to the surgical wing; it simply means to (perhaps) follow the example of New York-Presbyterian Hospital in NYC, who expects to save $1.77mill. annually by replacing older lighting, AC, water chilling and pumping systems with newer, more efficient models.

Involve your staff in this entire process.  Doing so will give them a feeling of doing well for the environment, while also empowering them to do well for the facility.

Going Green Means Raising the Public’s Estimation of Your Facility

Beyond the financial benefits and the obvious safety improvements, going green can go a long way in raising the public’s perception of your facility. Potential patients and employees love to see facilities properly dispose of their waste, and they appreciate a facility that sees the benefits to leaving as small a “footprint” as possible.

What about you? What “green” initiatives has your facility undertaken? Have you noticed a financial savings? More recognition in the community? Higher retention and/or an easier go of it when it comes to recruiting?

We hope you’re bookmarking our Snelling Medical Blog and hope even more that you’re finding it useful. Check back with us next week when we discuss how you can decrease your facility’s liability while addressing employee fatigue.

Meanwhile, if you have any questions or feedback, drop us a line!

NOTE:  A full-color, downloadable PDF is available. 

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