Concerned about the use of products and services in health care that are potentially harmful to human health, local communities and the planet, the nation’s top leaders in health care sustainability announced the launch of Greenhealth Exchange (GX) at the CleanMed 2016 Conference in Dallas, TX.
GX is a purchasing cooperative founded by four health systems including Dartmouth-Hitchcock (NH), Dignity Health (CA), Gundersen Health System (WI), and Partners HealthCare (MA) along with longtime sustainability advocates Health Care Without Harm and Practice Greenhealth.
GX is backed by a combined total of 60 hospitals that together have over $4 billion in purchasing power. “With the support of our members and supplier network, we will promote the adoption of products that support healthy people, a healthy environment, and healthy communities,” said John Strong, President of GX. “At Greenhealth Exchange, we believe that we can help catalyze the development of low-toxicity, low-carbon, healthier products needed for the future.”
Health care organizations in the US purchase more than $300 billion of goods and services each year, accounting for 17% of the marketplace. Strong shared that this buying clout puts hospitals and health systems in a strong position to accelerate the adoption of products that are safer and healthier and spark innovation in the supply chain.
“We know the health of our communities and the health of our planet are inexorably linked,” said Sister Mary Ellen Leciejewski, Director of Ecology for Dignity Health. “Using high-quality products and processes for our patients that are also eco-friendly has long been a priority for Dignity Health. Greenhealth Exchange will help to further this mission both for Dignity Health and the health care industry as a whole.”
“Supplies and equipment have as big, if not bigger, impact on the environment as our energy use and waste management,” said Jeff Thompson, MD, Executive Advisor and CEO Emeritus for Gundersen Health System. “That’s why Gundersen is committed to Greenhealth Exchange. So we can aggregate demand, identify finding products that will lower cost, be more sustainable, and enhance the wellbeing of patients and our communities.”
“Purchasing quality green products will soon become much easier for health care,” said Gary Cohen, president and founder of Health Care Without Harm and Practice Greenhealth. "Greenhealth Exchange will enable more hospitals to abandon materials that are potentially harmful to the planet and public health in exchange for safer alternatives. We need to detox our economy in order to address our nation’s chronic disease burden and health care is perfectly positioned to lead the way toward that healthier future.”
For more than 20 years, Health Care Without Harm and Practice Greenhealth have worked collaboratively with hospitals, health systems, product manufacturers, and suppliers to drive change in the market for environmentally preferable products. GX will build on these efforts, helping hospitals overcome barriers to green purchasing by offering greater access to high-quality products at competitive prices.
The Responsible Purchasing Network (RPN) has joined the GX sourcing team to identify products that meet strong health, environmental, social responsibility, and performance standards. “RPN is thrilled to be serving as a technical advisor to this exciting new green purchasing cooperative,” said Alicia Culver, RPN’s Executive Director. “Our aim is to help GX replicate the successes we’ve had working with states and cities to negotiate competitive prices for certified “green” cleaning supplies and other sustainable products,” she added.
“What we buy matters, to our patients, to our staff, and to the natural resources that our great-grandchildren will depend on,” said Dartmouth-Hitchcock’s Vice President of Supply Chain, Curtis Lancaster. “We are committed to achieving the healthiest population possible for generations to come. Investing in Greenhealth Exchange means multiplying our purchasing power and helping to move the marketplace. We are delighted to help launch this collaborative effort and encourage others to join us.”
GX is currently developing a network of suppliers and it expects to launch the online catalog in approximately six months.
Through detailed product specifications and supplier performance requirements, the unique marketplace will offer health care providers (and ultimately other types of businesses and institutions) with access to the following:
- High-quality green products brought together in one catalog at competitive prices.
- Apples-to-apples comparisons on key product features including price and sustainability score plus health, environmental and community benefits.
- Tracking and reporting the benefits associated with every purchase.
Read the full press release here