Health care leaders urge Congress to act on climate change

Contact: Ella Schwotzer, Climate Communications Manager, Health Care Without Harm
eschwotzer@hcwh.org, 866-310-3320 (o), 603-674-1087 (c)

Health care leaders urge Congress to act on climate change

Washington, D.C. (Oct. 24, 2019) – Climate change is harming the health and safety of millions of people across the U.S., and has already led to billions of dollars in health care costs. In recognition of the impact climate change is having on their patients and on the cost of care, the Health Care Climate Council is on Capitol Hill today to meet with Members of Congress and their staff about policy solutions to address the growing crisis. 

The Health Care Climate Council, a leadership body 19 U.S. health systems established in 2014 by Health Care Without Harm, will inform key committee and Senate staff about the urgent need to transition to a 100% clean, renewable energy economy and to prioritize investments in climate-ready hospitals.

“Over the past few years, record-breaking wildfires, floods, and hurricanes have threatened communities across the country, and local hospitals have stepped up to respond to these emergencies time and again. We have seen firsthand how these events put patients, caregivers, and communities in harm’s way,” says Ali Santore, group vice president of government affairs and social responsibility for Providence St. Joseph Health.“That’s why we’re on Capitol Hill today – to talk with policymakers about the ways we can work together to promote climate solutions and build a resilient health care system to protect public health in the face of climate change.”

Members of the Climate Council will share their experiences responding to the health impacts of a changing climate and the various ways climate change affects health in all regions of the country. As industry leaders in setting standards for climate-smart health care, Climate Council members will provide Members of Congress with valuable expertise on how health care can play a leading role in advancing clean energy and promoting resilient communities.

Earlier this year, the Climate Council endorsed the U.S. Call to Action on Climate, Health, and Equity, along with more than 100 health and medical organizations. The call to action includes a 10-point policy agenda for solving the climate-health emergency, including a rapid transition to clean energy. Members will discuss the agenda’s recommendations with congressional staff.

The Climate Council will meet with staff from the offices of Senators Murkowski, Rubio and Schumer. Meetings with staff and members of the House Committee on Energy and Commerce, House Select Committee on the Climate Crisis, Senate Democrats’ Special Committee on the Climate Crisis, and Senate Bipartisan Climate Solutions Caucus are also planned.

About Health Care Without Harm

Health Care Without Harm seeks to transform health care worldwide so the sector reduces its environmental footprint and becomes a leader in the global movement for environmental health and justice. For more information, visit noharm-uscanada.org.

About the Health Care Climate Council

The U.S. Health Care Climate Council is a leadership body of 19 health systems committed to protecting their patients and employees from the health impacts of climate change and becoming anchors for resilient communities. For more information, visit noharm.org/healthcareclimatecouncil.