Gundersen earns prestigious environmental awards

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For the 10th consecutive year, Gundersen Health System has been recognized by Practice Greenhealth for its environmental initiatives.

Gundersen received the Top 25 Environmental Excellence Award and four Circles of Excellence Awards last week during CleanMed, the national environmental conference for leaders in healthcare sustainability, .

“This recognition is meaningful confirmation by our peers that we are on the right path,” explains Mark Platt, senior vice president of Business Services at Gundersen. “But we don’t do this work for the fancy awards. We do it because it is the right thing to do for our patients, their families, our staff and all the communities we serve. The work we do embodies the mission and values of Gundersen Health System.”

According to Cecelia DeLoach Lynn, member of the Practice Greenhealth Awards team, “The Top 25 Environmental Excellence Award is a competitive award, encouraging hospitals to continue their pursuit of sustainable innovation across the healthcare sector. Gundersen Health System has been identified as one of the leaders in this sector, driving sustainability and embedding environmental stewardship into the very core of its culture.”

Cecelia explains that the Circles of Excellence honor up to 10 of the highest performing hospitals in 10 areas of sustainability expertise. Gundersen has been awarded the Circles of Excellence in Leadership, Waste, Energy and Climate. “These awards highlight those hospitals that are pushing the envelope and driving innovation in sustainability performance in each sustainability category,” Cecilia explains.

“We are one of only a few healthcare organizations in the country that have sustained this high level of environmental stewardship and been recognized for a decade or more,” says Tom Thompson, sustainability coordinator at Gundersen. “While this is a great accomplishment, our work isn’t finished. We are always coming up with new projects and initiatives as we continuously improve projects and processes for even better outcomes.”

To learn more about Gundersen’s Envision program, go to gundersenenvision.org.

 

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Visit us at CleanMed – booth 403

May 17-19, Dallas, TX

What happens when longtime sustainability leaders Practice Greenhealth and Health Care Without Harm bring together people from across the country and around the world to talk about green healthcare? CleanMed happens.

CleanMed is the premier conference behind the movement for greener, more effective healthcare. Over a thousand people come to a different city every year to take part in three days of learning, networking, and inspiration. This includes representatives from hospitals, healthcare systems, group purchasing organizations, food service directors and healthcare architects and designers—and representatives from Gundersen Health System.

This year’s Gundersen presenters or co-presenters at CleanMed include:

  • Eric Bashaw, Facilities Operation Manager
  • Mark Platt, senior vice president of Business Services
  • Stephen B. Shapiro, MD, GACS, General Surgery and Colorectal Surgery
  • Jeff Thompson, MD, Executive Advisor and Chief Executive Officer Emeritus

At Gundersen Health System we’re passionate about helping healthcare leaders deliver greener healthcare. Gundersen Health System’s environmental program, Envision® has become known as a model for healthcare organizations nationwide. We can show you how developing or enhancing a portfolio of sustainability projects can help lower costs while improving the health of the communities you serve.

CleanMed is a chance for us to learn more about where healthcare is headed including the sector’s biggest challenges and opportunities, and how our products and services can help bridge those challenges.

Visit us at booth 403 to get a firsthand look at the services we offer.

Find out more about Envision at www.gundersenenvision.org.

Waste not, want not

Earth day

Earth Day is April 22. Now is a good time to think about our commitment to the environment. Reducing waste is critical to environmental sustainability.

The most effective way to reduce waste is not to create it in the first place. Reducing and reusing are effective ways to save natural resources, protect the environment and save money.

Ideas on how to reduce and reuse:

  • Buy used. You can find everything from clothing to building materials at reuse centers and consignment shops. Used items are often less expensive and just as good as new.
  • Bring reusable shopping bags with you to the store.
  • Look for products that use less packaging. Buying in bulk, for example, can reduce packaging and save money.
  • Buy reusable items instead of disposable items. Bring your silverware and cup to work.
  • Maintain and repairs things such as clothing, tires, and appliances so they won’t end up in the landfill.
  • Find creative ways to reuse old stuff.
  • Borrow, rent, or share things infrequently used like party decorations, tools, or furniture.
  • Trim the bare minimum from vegetables to help reduce food waste.

Find out other ways to reduce waste at www.gundersenenvision.org.

 

Healthcare sustainability: Reducing food waste

Watch our “Lean” approach to reducing food waste video.

One of the key components of any environmental program is reducing the amount of waste that is generated. As with any dietary program, there will always be some amount of food leftover from the service line and scraps from food prep.

At Gundersen Health System, the Nutrition and Hospitality Services department uses a tracking program called LeanPath® to determine exactly how much and what food is thrown away every week. The data is fed into a software program that gives staff valuable information, such as the time of day or day of the week that the most food waste is generated or the type of food that is thrown away most often.

Based on the data, changes are made to reduce the waste. Many of the changes are fairly simple to accomplish, like adjusting the amount of soup that is warmed up at certain times of day or educating staff on how to prepare vegetables so there is less scrap waste. These simple changes can add up to huge cost savings.

A byproduct of the food waste reduction program is a food donation program to the local Salvation Army. Each day, food is left over that is still safe to eat but cannot be served in the hospital due to food service regulations. Instead of throwing away the food, Nutrition and Hospitality Services staff package it up, label it and set it aside in the cooler or freezer. A Salvation Army member picks up the food to be served in their soup kitchen. Gundersen donates more than 500 meals a month.

By rethinking how food is prepared and finding ways to use leftovers, you can reduce the amount of food that is being put into the waste stream.

Learn more about reducing food waste at gundersenenvision.org.

Wisconsin leaders discuss impact of Paris sustainability agreement

Two months after 200 nations ratified a global agreement on sustainability and the environment, Wisconsin leaders are reconvening to continue the discussion on how to build upon the agreement for better health.

Jeff Thompson, MD, executive advisor and chief executive officer emeritus, who represented Gundersen Health System last December at the United Nations’ Conference on Climate Change (COP21) in Paris, will be on a panel Tuesday, Feb. 9, from 7 to 8:30 p.m. for The Promise of Paris, session two in the Connecting Wisconsin and the UN Climate Talks series.

The Promise of Paris, hosted by the Wisconsin Academy of Sciences, Arts and Letters and the University of Wisconsin Global Health Institute, features experts and innovators in environmental and sustainable change. A live stream of the session will be available.

Gundersen Envison, is helping organizations turn theory into action and results. For more information and to schedule a speaker, envision@gundersenhealth.org, call toll-free (855) 669-1653 or log on to gundersenenvision.org.

Gundersen shares best practices in webinar tomorrow

Dr. T on wind turbine
Dr. Thompson atop one of Gundersen’s wind turbines.

Gundersen Health System is taking center stage to promote its success in weaving sustainable practices into healthcare, to benefit patients and the community and reduce costs.

In a live webinar Jan. 27 at 1 p.m. Jeff Thompson, MD, executive advisor and CEO emeritus, shares best practices for leadership in sustainability programming and challenges attendees to integrate environmental improvement initiatives into traditional patient care and healthcare practices.

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.

During this event, attendees will:

  • Understand why leadership is critical for sustainability initiatives to reach their full potential and maximize return.
  • Explore leadership’s role in sustainability programming.
  • Learn about Practice Greenhealth, Health Care without Harm and the community of organizations that come together to share best practices.
  • Recognize that sustainability staffing pays for itself through cost savings associated with environmental improvement activities.
  • Take away three examples of where doing the right thing reduced costs.

In 2015 our organization was honored with Practice Greenhealth’s Top 25 Environmental Excellence Award, which is given to healthcare facilities that exemplify environmental excellence and are setting the highest standards for environmental practices in healthcare.

We also received Practice Greenhealth Circle of Excellence awards for leadership, waste management, energy and climate.

Gundersen is the first known healthcare organization to achieve energy independence, producing more energy than it consumes from fossil fuels.

Gundersen Envison, our environmental program, can help your organization turn theory into action and results. For more information and to schedule a speaker, email envision@gundersenhealth.org, call toll-free (855) 669-1653 or log on to gundersenenvision.org.

Gundersen achieves another energy independence milestone

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Gundersen Health System has reached another significant milestone in its effort to be energy independent.

In November 2015, Gundersen produced more energy than it consumed from fossil fuels, the first calendar month since the system announced its first days of energy independence in October 2014.

Achieving energy independence was and remains a challenging and moving target. Hospitals typically use two and a half times more energy than commercial buildings. In Wisconsin, which has one of the most energy-intensive climates in the nation, the challenges are amplified.

Gundersen has met these challenges with fossil fuel energy efficiency improvement of over 50 percent, resulting in a cumulative financial savings of more than $8.5 million from conservation alone. In addition, the health system established regional partnerships for energy generation, including dairy digesters, wind turbines and a landfill gas-to-energy initiative. Local projects also include geothermal energy and a biomass boiler.

“Producing more energy than we consumed for an entire month is a remarkable achievement,” says Jeff Rich, executive director of Gundersen Envision, the organization’s sustainability and environmental program. “We’ve said from the beginning energy independence is a work in progress and we are committed to continuous improvement. Our staff and our local and regional partners should be credited for helping move us closer to the ultimate goal: sustained energy independence that leads to healthier patients and communities, a better environment and lower costs.”

To learn more about Gundersen’s sustainability efforts, visit gundersenenvision.org