Spectrum Health United Hospital Presented with National Environmental Excellence Award

April 19, 2011

April 19, 2011

Partner for Change Award honors initiatives directed toward mercury reduction, waste reduction and pollution prevention.

Spectrum Health United Hospital has been honored with the 2011 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 seven Environmental Excellence Awards given each year to honor outstanding environmental achievements in health care sector.

The Partner for Change Award recognizes healthcare facilities that continuously improve and expand upon their mercury elimination, waste reduction, and pollution prevention programs. At a minimum, facilities applying for this award must be recycling 10 percent of their total waste, have a mercury elimination program in place with a plan for total elimination, and have developed other successful pollution prevention programs.

To receive this Award, United Hospital has embraced and implemented numerous sustainability-focused programs and processes.  Some of them include a comprehensive single-stream recycling program, a pharmaceutical waste management system, installing re-usable sharps containers and singe use-medical device reprocessing.

Additionally, United Hospital has created an internal “Green Team” made up of employees representing all clinical and non-clinical areas as well as Kelsey Hospital in Lakeview.  The mission of the Green Team is to brainstorm ideas the Hospitals are able to reduce waste and protect the environment, yet remain cost effective and increase our level of patient satisfaction.

Several projects the Green Team has developed and are implementing include on-site electronics recycling, shoe recycling, disposable dishware reduction, and increasing our recycling rate at United Hospital. “We recognize the link between the health of each individual and the health of the environment,” said Corey Ballmer, Supply Chain Management Supervisor for United and Kelsey hospitals and Green Team chair. “That’s why we are committed to environmentally responsible practices and are taking the lead to promote a healthier community.”

Another current initiative of the Green Team is hosting an internal “Earth Day Expo” at United Hospital on Earth Day, April 22.  The Expo will consist of various hospital departments displaying their specific efforts to incorporate green practices into ongoing patient care.  Additionally, our recycling vendor will be on site along with a few other hospital vendors to educate staff on the sustainable programs they provide to Spectrum Health.  The Green Team also plans to launch several new efforts to increase even greater employee participation in every-day earth friendly practices.

“We are so pleased to have our accomplishments recognized at a national level,” said Paul Bonis, President, Spectrum Health United Hospital. Practice Greenhealth presented Environmental Excellence Awards to only 245 institutions nationwide, which is a small percentage of the many healthcare organizations around the country. We plan to continue our efforts to educate our staff and the community on ways to reduce environmental impact, The Partner for Change Award validates what we are doing.

Practice Greenhealth is the nation’s leading membership and networking organization for institutions in the healthcare community that have made a commitment to sustainable, eco-friendly practices. Members include hospitals, healthcare systems, businesses and other stakeholders engaged in the greening of healthcare to improve the health of patients, staff and the environment. Practice Greenhealth is a source of environmental solutions for the health care sector. For more information on Practice Greenhealth, visit

About Spectrum Health United Hospital
Spectrum Health United Hospital, located in Greenville, Michigan, is committed to providing excellent personal care and service through state-of-the-art technology and qualified, caring.  Spectrum Health United Hospital provides local access to quality care through the region’s largest health care system.

About Spectrum Health
Spectrum Health is a not-for-profit health system in West Michigan offering a full continuum of care through the Spectrum Health Hospital Group, which includes nine hospitals and more than 170 service sites; the Spectrum Health Medical Group and West Michigan Heart, physician groups totaling more than 600 providers; and Priority Health, a health plan with 600,000 members. Spectrum Health is West Michigan’s largest employer with 17,000 employees. The organization provided $115.9 million in community benefit during its 2010 fiscal year. In 2010, Spectrum Health was named a Top 10 Health System by Thomson Reuters.