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U.S. hospitals can now achieve a Sustainable Healthcare Certification, showcasing their commitment to eco-friendly practices and emissions reduction.

The Joint Commission is launching a voluntary Sustainable Healthcare Certification (SHC) program for U.S. hospitals. This program is a response to requests from the healthcare industry, aiming to accelerate sustainable practices and reduce greenhouse gas emissions within healthcare organizations.

The certification is available to both Joint Commission-accredited and non-Joint Commission-accredited hospitals, including critical access hospitals. It serves as a framework for healthcare organizations to enhance their sustainability efforts and offers public recognition for their commitment to sustainability. 

The Joint Commission, a body that collaborates with various healthcare stakeholders, certifies over 22,000 healthcare organizations and programs across the United States.

According to Environmental Leader

To attain this certification, organizations are required to meet specific criteria. They must establish priorities and governance for their sustainability initiatives, create baselines to measure three sources of greenhouse gas emissions, and develop an action plan to reduce these emissions.

Jonathan B. Perlin, president and chief executive officer of the Joint Commission Enterprise, stated, “We want to work with the momentum of healthcare organizations leading the way in sustainability excellence – inspiring and guiding others that want to prioritize greener practices.” He emphasized the significant role of the healthcare sector in the United States and its dedication to improving people’s health and well-being. “Together, we can collectively reduce the healthcare sector’s carbon footprint and reduce hospital visits, illnesses, premature deaths, and medical costs from severe weather events and other climate impacts.”

Beyond the certification, healthcare organizations that prioritize sustainability can reap numerous benefits, including cost savings, operational efficiencies, and potential tax credits and payment from new federal incentives. Moreover, there are health benefits for patients, as climate change tends to disproportionately affect those with adverse social determinants of care.

The Joint Commission has also introduced the Sustainable Healthcare Resource Center, offering key strategies, tools, literature, videos, and links to aid healthcare organizations in advancing their sustainability efforts. This resource center will also assist organizations as they prepare for the SHC.

U.S. hospitals are eligible to apply for the new certification beginning January 1, 2024, and interested hospitals can complete a pre-application form before that date.

This initiative by the Joint Commission is a significant stride in promoting sustainability within the healthcare sector, allowing hospitals to showcase their commitment to eco-friendly practices and emissions reduction. It not only sets a standard for sustainability in healthcare but also encourages other organizations to follow suit, fostering a greener and more sustainable future in healthcare.

Samira is an Electronics and Communications Engineer by profession, but deep inside, her heart is a nomad! She's a state champion debater, a public speaker, a scriptwriter, a theatre actress, but most importantly — A GREEN CITIZEN! She thinks of herself as a storyteller who thrives on enjoying the life at fullest and telling everyone the tales of life.

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