Opinion: Hospitals need to get ahead of regulations on climate change

Hospitals have a mission beyond providing high-quality patient care: supporting public health. And that means addressing their contributions to climate change now, not later.

Climate change, an issue that hospital leaders should have voluntarily been working on following the catastrophes of Hurricanes Katrina and Sandy, is soon to be an issue they’ll have to work on, now that the Biden administration has incorporated environmental sustainability directives from the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) as part of its broader initiative to halve U.S. carbon emissions by 2030.

The U.S. health care delivery sector has been relatively quiet on the topic of climate change and carbon emissions, even though it accounts for an estimated 8.5% of all U.S. carbon emissions and contributes significantly to the climate emergency that industries and governments are tackling worldwide. Health care delivery organizations must take more action to mitigate their contributions to climate change and act now to secure business resilience in the face of an uncertain future.

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