The Biden Administration and the Department of Health and Human Services have issued a call to all healthcare stakeholders to tackle the climate crisis through a new initiative and pledge aimed at reducing emissions across the healthcare sector. The Joint Commission, an accreditor, collaborator and evaluator of healthcare systems, as well as similar accrediting organizations, quickly moved to join what became known as the Health Sector Climate Pledge. They pledged to reevaluate their criteria for hospital systems’ environmental impact evaluations.
Evolving state codes, accrediting body evaluations, and movement at the federal level have made it clear: healthcare systems and their stakeholders must commit to aggressive change in their carbon footprint. Some of the most impactful changes they can make are at the facilities level.
Many systems are behind in facility upgrades that would bring them up to code in other markets, let alone be prepared for an increase of commitments or requirements in carbon neutrality from operational or embodied carbon. The challenge is substantial, and for many systems, these waters have gone uncharted. Like anything unknown, myths have built up around what is and isn’t possible.