Washington Health Care Climate Alliance

Washington Health Care Climate Alliance

The Washington Health Care Climate Alliance is a leadership body of Washington health systems committed to protecting the public from the health impacts of climate change, becoming anchors for resilient communities, and contributing to meeting the state’s climate goals. The alliance was launched in collaboration with Health Care Without Harm.

The Washington Health Care Climate Alliance will serve as a vehicle to bring health care’s expertise, experience, and trusted voice to the legislative and regulatory process for climate-smart policies related to energy, transportation, food, waste, infrastructure, and community resilience.

Members

  • CHI Franciscan 
  • MultiCare
  • Providence St. Joseph Health
  • Seattle Children’s
  • Swedish Health Services
  • UW Medicine
  • Virginia Mason Medical Center

Alliance by the numbers

  • 40 hospitals and more than 950 health care facilities in Washington
  • Nearly 8 million patients served
  • Over 93,000 employees
  • $21 billion annual operating revenue
  • $1.8 billion provided in community benefit

Climate change threatens the health of all residents of the Evergreen State, and vulnerable populations are most at risk. Climate change increases air and water pollution, disrupts food production, and leads to more extreme weather events – all of which impact human health.

In Washington, more frequent and longer-lasting wildfires cause more unhealthy air days. Warming temperatures also contribute to declining snowpacks, harmful algal blooms, and disruption in fisheries, threatening seafood and produce supply.

These higher temperatures also increase the number of heat-related illnesses. Vulnerable populations – including children, the elderly, people with chronic health conditions, and low-income communities – are disproportionately impacted by these changes.

To reduce the severity of these impacts, alliance members will use their collective experience and influence to mitigate their sector's climate impact and improve institutional and community climate resilience.

Member Statements

CHI Franciscan 

CHI Franciscan is committed to building healthy communities, which includes creating a healthy environment. As one of the largest health systems in Washington state, CHI Franciscan sees more than 3 million inpatient and outpatient visits each year and is dedicated to serving them beyond the walls of our facilities. In 2020, CHI Franciscan will open a new state-of-the-art hospital in Silverdale that will be the most energy efficient hospital in Washington state – and one of the most energy efficient in the nation. The new facility will significantly reduce greenhouse gases (the amount produced each year by 690 homes) and will save 3.4 million gallons of drinking water. Improving our energy efficiency, locally sourcing our food and supplies as much as possible, and reducing water use helps us minimize our industry's impact on the environment. This work is directly tied to our mission of improving the health of the people we serve, especially those who are vulnerable.

MultiCare

Sustainability is essential to MultiCare delivering on our mission of partnering for healing and a healthy future. Through sustainability efforts spanning all aspects of our facilities, we can do more with existing resources, enhance quality of care, protect the environment, and improve the communities where MultiCare provides services. MultiCare’s sustainability program will be a source of pride and a solid foundation for the future. This work contributes to MultiCare’s vision to be the Pacific Northwest’s highest value system of health through a consistent, active focus on sustainability. Our sustainability work helps lower operational costs and frees up resources for direct patient care, reduces pollution and our use of community resources such as water and energy, and creates more resilient facilities that can run longer on less energy continuing operations when less efficient organizations cannot.

Providence St. Joseph Health and Swedish Health Services

With 301 clinics and 15 hospitals serving communities in Washington State, Providence St. Joseph Health and Swedish Health Services are significant providers of health care services in Washington. Many of these hospitals have collaborated to form an Environmental Stewardship Council to share best practices and benchmark environmental performance. As a result of these efforts, over the past year Providence facilities decreased greenhouse gas emissions from anesthetic agents by over 40%, saving almost 1,000 the equivalent of metric tons of carbon dioxide. These facilities have committed to purchase over 13% of their electrical energy direct from renewable sources and in 2020 plan to build the largest solar photovoltaic system on a hospital in Washington State. Our commitment to environmental stewardship supports our vision of “Health for a Better World.”

Seattle Children’s

Seattle Children’s delivers compassionate patient care, advances new discoveries and treatments through pediatric research, and serves as the pediatric and adolescent academic medical center for Washington, Alaska, Montana and Idaho – the largest region of any children’s hospital in the country. We are committed to environmental stewardship for the health of our patients and families, our team, and our community. As a large employer in our region, our comprehensive transportation program promotes alternative commuting for our teams and has decreased the drive-alone percentage by 40% over the past 25 years. We have partnered locally with Forterra to plant over 250 trees annually to offset a portion of our carbon footprint. And from our LEED Gold certified new buildings, to our alternative-fuel shuttle fleet, we are working across our entire organization to decrease our carbon footprint.

UW Medicine

UW Medicine recognizes that health care organizations have a vital role to play in protecting the environment for future generations. In 2018, the sustainability programs at our four hospitals eliminated nearly 27,000 pounds of medical supplies from landfills, swapped more than 7,000 inefficient lightbulbs for LEDs, and composted 893 tons of biodegradables. Other current initiatives include implementing a “just-in-time” delivery system for supplies, conserving water with new fixtures, and installing charging stations for electric vehicles. Practice Greenhealth has recognized our work with the Top 25 Environmental Excellence Awards for UW Medical Center (13 consecutive years) and Harborview Medical Center (8 consecutive years). As part of the University of Washington, UW Medicine contributes to the university-wide initiative to reduce the UW’s carbon footprint and institutionalize sustainability. The tagline for this initiative is "Sustainability: It's in our nature."

Virginia Mason

Virginia Mason is leading efforts to transform our community into a healthier place by raising awareness about the fundamental connection between environmental and human health. From the White House to COP 21 in Paris to the City of Seattle, we have spoken up to support efforts to combat climate change, reduce pollution, protect healthy food systems, and develop low-carbon transportation options. EnviroMason, our internal sustainability program, is supported on all levels of our organization. We implement sustainability projects with a “Lean and Green” approach using the Virginia Mason Production System (VMPS) of continuous improvement.