Health systems win national Practice Greenhealth awards


Metro Health Hospital's rooftop garden is the second-largest green roof in Michigan. Courtesy Metro Health

Several health care systems and their facilities have won Environmental Excellence awards from a national health care nonprofit promoting eco-friendly practices.

Practice Greenhealth, a national member-based networking organization, recognized four West Michigan health systems this month with 2015 Practice Greenhealth Environmental Excellence awards for their commitment to sustainability and environmental stewardship.

Nationally recognized systems

Practice Greenhealth celebrated high-performing health care systems and facilities during its Environmental Excellence Awards Ceremony and Gala held in Portland, Ore., in combination with the CleanMed Conference and Exhibition.

The Reston, Va.-based nonprofit encourages members to increase efficiency and environmental stewardship, while improving patient safety, and recognizes organizations for their achievements in a variety of areas with its national Environmental Excellence Awards.

Several of West Michigan-based facilities were honored during the event: Metro Health Hospital; Spectrum Health Blodgett Hospital; Spectrum Health Butterworth Hospital; Spectrum Health United Hospital; Spectrum Health Zeeland Community Hospital; Spectrum Health Kelsey Hospital; Borgess Medical Center; and Bronson Methodist Hospital.

Top performers from region

Although Practice Greenhealth recognizes achievement in a number of areas, one of the organization’s awards honoring superior performance includes the Top 25 Environmental Excellence Award, which was awarded to Wyoming-based Metro Health Hospital for the seventh consecutive year.

Eligible health care facilities for the Top 25 Environmental Excellence Award are chosen from the Greenhealth Partner for Change Award applicants, are leading the industry in innovative sustainability practices and recycle at least 25 percent of their total waste.

Mike Faas, president and CEO at Metro Health, said sustainability isn’t simply a buzzword at Metro Health, but a way of life for the organization.

“We have made sustainability a focus since the beginning, making us a leader not only in our state but also nationwide,” Faas said. “We’re honored to again be recognized by Practice Greenhealth and are committed to looking for new opportunities to ‘be green’ in everything we do.”

Both Spectrum Health Blodgett Hospital and Spectrum Health Butterworth Hospital were also recognized as the “cream of the crop” of the Greenhealth Partner for Change Award applicants with a Greenhealth Emerald Award, which is presented to organizations achieving improvements in waste reduction and recycling and source-reduction programs.

As a health system, Spectrum Health received the System for Change Award based on having a minimum of four acute-care hospitals and working collaboratively throughout the organization to implement system-wide sustainability goals and track data.

Tina Freese-Decker, president of Spectrum Health Hospital Group, said implementing best practices in sustainability, efficiency and environmental efforts is one way the organization demonstrates its commitment to be a good steward of the community’s resources.

“This award recognizes the efforts of the many employees who embrace that commitment by reducing energy use, using local growers for food sources and eliminating waste from our facilities, all of which substantially impacts the community and the environment,” Freese-Decker said.

Other award winners

A number of facilities in the region won the Greenhealth Partner for Change Award: Borgess Medical Center; Bronson Methodist Hospital; Spectrum Health Zeeland Community Hospital; Spectrum Health United Hospital; Spectrum Health Kelsey Hospital; Spectrum Health Big Rapids Hospital; Spectrum Health Reed City Hospital; and Spectrum Health Gerber Hospital.

Spectrum Health Ludington Hospital received a Partner Recognition Award for its beginning work in sustainability.

Several facilities in the region won Practice Greenhealth Circle of Excellence awards for excelling in a single category: Leadership Circle to Spectrum Health Blodgett Hospital; Less Waste Circle to Metro Health Hospital; Chemical Circle to Metro Health Hospital; and Environmentally Preferable Purchasing Circle to Metro Health Hospital. 

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