Hospitals need to publicly report their greenhouse gas emissions – Boston, Massachusetts

Hospitals need to publicly report their greenhouse gas emissions – Boston, Massachusetts

THis healthcare industry is focused on healing. But the pursuit of that mission can cause harm.Harm caused by Medical malpractice Well known.The main unknown is Hidden harm Caused by industry greenhouse gas emissions.

Ann Estimated 10% of total US greenhouse gas emissions I’m from the healthcare industry.Mainly due to particulate matter (particles smaller than 2.5 microns known as PM)2.5), Industry carbon emissions from burning fossil fuels are about 100,000 With the annual death of the United States About 3 times That number all over the world.

A Report published in May According to the National Resources Defense Council, burning fossil fuels causes $ 800 billion in medical costs annually, which the Medicare and Medicaid programs and their beneficiaries disproportionately bear.


The full extent of health care’s contribution to greenhouse gas emissions is unknown.The healthcare industry is also significantly compared to other major industries Publicly underreported Its greenhouse gas emissions.

A recent debate about how to deal with this issue BMJ,so Health Affairs, And a letter to HHS Secretary Xavier Becerra on April 2. 1Signed by 65 academic and medical professionals and advocacy groups sent by Health Voices for Climate Action. other It was sent by Congressman Richard Neal (D-Mass.), Who chairs the House Ways and Means Committee.


These discussions were prompted by several things. First and foremost, the government must not engage in businesses that pay for the health care system to harm the health of Americans, especially Medicare and Medicaid beneficiaries.When Biodiversity collapse, Glaciers and permafrost Melting, Floods and fires RagingAnd as animal-borne illnesses increase, UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres said in his recent “Planetary state“Speech,” The state of the planet is broken “and” Nature needs salvation. “

Guterres’s disastrous evaluation Recent reports From the International Energy Agency, which came to the calm conclusion that limiting global warming to the UN-recommended 1.5 ° C would require the equivalent of setting up the world’s largest solar park every day until 2030.

Renewable energy only 12 percent Percentage of US energy consumption in 2020, despite dramatic cost reductions.For example, the cost of solar power 89% decrease Over the last decade, it has been one-third the price of coal.In the case of the released United States 25% of all greenhouse gas emissions since 1751Plans to win global cooperation in the fight against climate change, tackling the emissions of the healthcare industry will certainly help build trust.

Becerra Gives Greenhouse Gas Emissions to Medicare or Medicaid-Funded Hospitals Participation conditions (CoP) regulation.. Doing so will require a small amount of effort by the hospital and will give them some benefits.

Currently the hospitals refunded by Medicare and Medicaid Required by law to meet Participation conditions. One section of conditions Hospitals need to maintain an effective, hospital-wide, data-driven quality assessment and performance improvement program. The program reflects the complexity of hospital organizations and services, includes all hospital departments and services, including contract services, and focuses on relevant metrics. For improving health and preventing medical malpractice.

Demanding hospitals to accurately report greenhouse gas emissions means that the health hazards they cause constitute medical malpractice, and reducing hospital greenhouse gas emissions is directly related to improving health outcomes. Therefore, it properly meets the participation conditions.

It usually takes a year to make regulatory changes to hospital participation requirements Notification of proposed rule creation To process. However, Besera may request hospitals to begin reporting emissions from January 1, 2022 by publishing the provisional final rules under the Administrative Procedure Act. Exception for good reason.. This exception allows federal agencies to: Avoid the notification and comment process “Infeasible, unnecessary, or contrary to the public interest”.

Considering the fact that the level of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere is higher than before 4.5 million yearsIs rising faster than any other point in time. Last 66 million years, And that planet Absorbs twice as much heat Just as it was 15 years ago, changing the terms of participation to require hospitals to report greenhouse gas emissions through the traditional notice of the proposed rule-making process is clearly “impractical.” It goes beyond “possible” and “contrary to the public interest.”

Regarding the fact that this process is “unnecessary”, public reports are easily lifted as most hospitals are already tracking annual energy usage.About 65% of hospitals EPA’s Energy Star Portfolio Manager Benchmark tool that is considered the industry standard. It is used by companies that manage about 25% of commercial floor space nationwide, and its use is associated with reduced energy usage and costs.Most hospitals track energy usage primarily under the American Hospital Association American Medical Engineering Association A program affiliated with EPA.

Hospitals use benchmarking tools to reduce energy consumption, but they can also calculate greenhouse gas emissions automatically.

Some hospitals report energy usage. Almost 40 jurisdictions, — And the number is increasing — demanding them to do so.For example, Washington Need a commercial building Work towards achieving the 2035 goal to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. New York City Building Emissions need to be significantly reduced by 2030.US Securities and Exchange Commission is currently Call for public comments To determine the emission-related information that a company needs to report publicly.

Given the fact that US healthcare is overly energy-intensive, its greenhouse gas emissions are 3 times or more That of the UK per capita — hospitals suggest that there are substantial opportunities to improve energy efficiency, reduce emissions and improve the health of all Americans.

Requiring hospitals to publicly report greenhouse gas emissions constitutes a sound policy for several additional reasons. It will directly address the concerns expressed by the Biden administration. Promotion of health inequalities This is because environmental factors play a much larger role in explaining health inequalities than in medical care.

The climate crisis has a disproportionate impact on Medicare and Medicaid beneficiaries. A 2019 study Medicare and Medicaid account for two-thirds of medical costs associated with 10 climate disasters in 2012, from wildfires in Colorado and Washington to the effects of Hurricane Sandy and the harmful algal blooms on the Florida coast. It is estimated that he paid.The constant increase in costly climate crisis disasters — the United States has experienced Their record 22 By 2020, each will cost more than $ 1 billion. This means that the resulting health hazards and costs will increase indefinitely.

Reports from the healthcare industry that promote energy efficiency and reduce greenhouse gas emissions have direct implications for improving national and international populations and public health. Public reports also create opportunities for healthcare providers to compete for patients and improve clinician recruitment and retention rates. The report increases industry transparency and makes it more resilient to climate change. It also helps capital-intensive industries to raise more lucrative funding, as increased use of renewable energy reduces investment risk. Aside from the specific benefits, public reports allow us to approach the ultimate goal of a viable climate.

Perhaps most importantly, public reporting allows you to take the next step. Demanding hospitals to develop and implement timely decarbonization plans. Here, regulators have the opportunity to leverage lessons from foreign health systems, especially the UK National Health Service. Since 2008 Reduce carbon dioxide emissions An estimated 62% increase in emissions compared to the 1990 international standard baseline, without compromising the quality of care provided.

The climate crisis presents the only greatest threat to humanity in this century. The Biden administration is properly calling for a government-wide approach to address it. The bloated carbon dioxide emissions of the healthcare industry are making a significant contribution to climate change. Publicly reporting emissions to hospitals and requesting them to do something about them is a logical step forward. It would be incomprehensible that Besera refuses to ask them to do so.

David Introcaso, Vice President of Regulatory Policy at Strategic HealthCare in Washington, DC, has conducted environmental and medical policy research in the US Congress, the Ministry of Health and Social Welfare, and various nonprofits. client. Walt Vernon is the Principal and CEO of Mazzetti, an international engineering company based in San Francisco, focused on planning and designing healthcare facilities. The views expressed here are authors and do not necessarily represent the views of the companies or organizations with which they are affiliated.

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