New approach includes joining health care industry initiative, revising investment strategy, and advocating on behalf of local environmental issues
SSM Health is focusing on a new multi-faceted approach to protect and preserve the environment and the world’s natural resources. In Oklahoma, St. Anthony Hospital, Bone and Joint Hospital at St. Anthony, St. Anthony Shawnee Hospital, and St. Anthony Physicians Group are included as members of SSM Health. The health system’s commitments include:
* Becoming a member of the Healthier Hospitals Initiative, a consortium of health care systems nationwide that offers guidelines and challenges for reducing energy and waste.
* Adopting an investment strategy that aligns with the system’s commitment to care for the environment.
* Advocating on significant environmental issues that arise within the communities directly served by the system
“As a Mission-based Catholic organization, SSM Health has always been deeply aware of the importance of caring for our natural resources,” said William P. Thompson, president/chief executive officer of SSM Health. “Our renewed commitment to the environment keeps us consistent in word and deed with the Franciscan Sisters of Mary, our founding congregation, and with the climate change encyclical released by Pope Francis last June.”
As part of its membership in the Healthier Hospitals Initiative, SSM Health has committed to reducing energy use by 3 percent, achieving a 25 percent recycling rate and reducing regulated medical waste to less than 10 percent of total waste.
SSM Health has also launched a Mission-based Impact Investment Program that will focus on caring for creation and mitigating climate change. Under the program, SSM Health will fully divest all of its investments in coal production companies. At the same time, the organization will expand investments in companies, organizations, and funds that generate a measurable beneficial social or environmental impact.
While these commitments enhance SSM Health’s environmental position, SSM Health has long been committed to environmental preservation. In fact, over the past several years, the organization has accomplished the following across its four-state system:
* Diverted more than 20 percent of its waste to recycling processes
* Increased its universal waste disposal by more than 5 percent, keeping potentially hazardous items, such as batteries and light bulbs, out of landfills.
* Reduced its overall energy consumption by installing more energy-efficient lighting and electrical systems.
* Maintained or decreased its air emissions over the last three years for all SSM Health hospitals.
* Implemented a more environmentally friendly equipment sterilization process, significantly decreasing the number of emissions sources.