Spectrum Health Reed City Hospital Wins National Partner for Change Award

June 4, 2012

Mercury Reduction, Waste Reduction and Pollution Prevention Result in Significant Environmental Achievement

Spectrum Health Reed City Hospital has been honored with the 2012 “Partner for Change” Award from Practice Greenhealth, a national membership organization for health care facilities committed to environmentally responsible operations.  The award is one of the organization’s Environmental Excellence Awards given each year to honor outstanding environmental achievements in the health care sector.

The Partner for Change Award recognizes health care facilities that continuously improve and expand upon their mercury elimination, waste reduction, and source reduction programs.  At a minimum, facilities applying for this award must be recycling 15 percent of their total waste, are well along the way to mercury elimination and have developed other successful pollution prevention programs in many areas.

“This award demonstrates Spectrum Health Reed City Hospital’s commitment to their community to protect public health and preserve the environment,” said Laura Wenger, RN, executive director, Practice Greenhealth.  Spectrum Health Reed City Hospital is truly demonstrating leadership for the future of health care.”

Employees at Spectrum Health Reed City are aware of the important connection between the environment and human health and have taken great strides in going ‘green.’  A sustainability team was formed to spearhead the effort and they’ve been very busy implementing the following initiatives:

  • A single stream recycling process
  • Reusable sharps containers (400 uses versus one time use)
  • Medical device reprocessing in the surgery department. The hospital recycles unused portions of sterile kits by returning them to a company that sterilizes them for reuse.
  • Use of a recycling compactor.  This initiative helps to decrease the number of pick-ups and eliminated the use of the 96 gallon totes.
  • Annual electronics recycling events which help to reduce the number of electronics that ends up in landfills.
  • The hospital Café converted from Styrofoam products to using BioWare products and the Café staff has volunteered to rinse out the BioWare products after use so they can be recycled.
  • The hospital Café signed the ‘Healthy Food Pledge’ which commits them to serving fresh, local, sustainable foods.
  • SHRCH developed a farmer’s market for staff and visitors to use during the summer months
  • Environmental services have switched to using T12 light bulbs which require less energy to run.
  • All paint that is used at SHRCH is green seal approved.
  • Effective June 2012, all new carpet used within SHRC will have 45% recycled content.
  • Constructions workers are using more energy efficient products and are instructed to recycle their products from the job site.
  • The hospital offers a pharmaceutical waste program that properly disposes of unused medications excluding narcotics which local law enforcement coordinates.
  • The pharmacy department does medication take-back of expired medications to dispose of them properly
  • A battery recycle program

Kathy Stein, Sustainability Team leader and director of outpatient services recently attended the award ceremony in Denver, CO at CleanMED, the premier national environmental conference for leaders in healthcare sustainability.  “We are pleased to be recognized for this significant achievement,” said Stein.  We are proud to be a model of how health facilities develop and implement programs to improve the health of our patients, staff and community.”

Spectrum Health Reed City Hospital is a 25 bed acute care hospital located in Reed City, Michigan that has adopted the Planetree approach to care giving.  A model of patient centered care in a healing environment, staff is committed to improving medical care from the patient’s perspective, empowering patients and families through education, information and encouraging healing partnerships with caregivers. Spectrum Health Reed City Hospital offers 24 hour emergency care, inpatient and outpatient services including lab and diagnostic imaging, a regional cancer treatment center, three primary care locations and an Eden Care award winning 50 bed rehab and nursing facility. Spectrum Health Reed City Hospital has been recognized for its clinical performance in inpatient, outpatient and emergency department care by the Michigan Center for Rural Health Quality Improvement Organization for 6 consecutive years.