Health Care Without Harm applauds CMS waiver for renewable microgrids as hospital emergency backup power

On Friday, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) issued a Categorical Waiver for health care microgrid systems allowing health systems to use clean energy microgrid systems to improve patient and community health while supporting the sector’s decarbonization and resilience.

Thanks to this waiver, health care organizations can adopt clean energy microgrid technologies for emergency power generation instead of relying on fossil fuel-powered sources. The waiver removes regulatory obstacles for health systems to procure clean energy – which will help organizations fully leverage Inflation Reduction Act (IRA) funding and programs to assist with decarbonizing their operations. Clean energy microgrid technology benefits our health, our environment, and is more affordable for health systems as demonstrated by a recent Kaiser Permanente case study.

Before the announcement of this waiver, Health Care Without Harm’s U.S. Health Care Climate Council sent a letter to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services expressing concern that IRA incentives were inaccessible to hospitals and health systems under the CMS Conditions of Participation.

Statement from Emily Mediate, Health Care Without Harm Climate and Health Program Director:

“The waiver is a win for the climate and the health of our communities. We applaud CMS for removing this regulatory barrier and helping the health care sector move closer to decarbonizing its operations. This positions the sector to lead in promoting equitable, healthy climate solutions while reducing local air pollution that harms public health. With the health care sector responsible for 8.5% of U.S. greenhouse gas emissions, transitioning its operations to clean energy is essential.

Health care is at the forefront of the climate crisis, bearing both the financial costs and human health burden from climate impacts. We must act quickly to prevent climate change from undoing the public health achievements of the twentieth century and disrupting health care operations across the country.”