Virginia Mason Memorial Hospital in Yakima was recently recognized with four awards from Practice Greenhealth: a leading organization dedicated to environmental sustainability in health care. The hospital received:
- The Greenhealth Emerald Award for superior sustainability programs;
- The Circles of Excellence Award for Healthy Food in Health Care for local food sourcing, healthier meat procurement, and reduction in meats, sugar-sweetened beverages and waste;
- The Greening the Operating Room Recognition Award for sustainability programs that drive environmental stewardship in the surgical suite; and
- The Making Medicine Mercury-Free Award, which is a new award given to facilities that have virtually eliminated the use of mercury and have policies in place to keep it from re-entering the facility.
Virginia Mason Memorial’s sustainability work includes serving patients and visitors local, organic and sustainable food whenever possible, and buying meat and marine-certified seafood that is free of antibiotics and hormones whenever possible. In the last three years, the hospital’s campus garden has provided 12,000 pounds of fresh produce for the cafeteria.
The hospital also collected more than 250 tons of recycling on its main campus in 2017, and the operating room diverted more than 16,000 pounds of medical waste from landfills through reduction and reprocessing devices. Virginia Mason Memorial received its awards May 9 at the Practice Greenhealth Environmental Excellence Awards Gala in San Diego.
“We are proud to be named one of the top 10 hospitals in the country for our work toward providing healthy food for our patients, employees and visitors,” says Virginia Mason Memorial CEO Russ Myers. “We will continue to make sustainability a top priority everywhere we can, from eliminating mercury from our facilities to greening our operating rooms and more.”