Case study: HCA mounts 'green' effort chain-wide

The nation's largest hospital chain has plans to mount a system-wide "green" initiative, setting, by sheer size alone, a standard other players are likely to follow.

HCA Corp. has joined Practice Greenhealth, an umbrella group for providers who are adopting eco-friendly practices within their organization. Practice Greenhealth offers expertise in the greening of just about every area of hospital operations, including environmentally-sensitive purchasing, clean energy, green building and eco-smart operations.

HCA's facilities include 163 hospitals and 112 outpatient centers in 20 states and England--enough to have an impact on the industry as a whole. Practice Greenhealth's executive director, Bob Jarboe, has gone so far as to say that 2009 may be the "tipping point" for green activity in hospitals generally, in part due to actions by chains the size of HCA.

To start things off, HCA plans to appoint a sustainability coordinator for each of its facilities. Each of these coordinators will have access to resources and expertise from Practice Greenhealth. Execs say the new affiliation is part of the chain's overall commitment to creating a comprehensive environmental strategy.

To learn more about HCA's plans:
- read this Health Leaders Media piece