January 16, 2013

"First, Do No Harm" Should Extend to the Environment

Becker's Hospital Review, January 16, 2013

A long-standing adage in the healthcare industry is "first, do no harm." When it comes to protecting the environment, this industry must take this challenge to heart. As a group, the healthcare industry generates over two million tons of waste annually. This amount of waste, along with many other aspects associated with healthcare facility operation, gives the industry a very large "environmental footprint" and attracts heavy environmental regulatory, accreditation and ethics scrutiny. This article presents some "food for thought" regarding several major issues surrounding a few primary environmental laws affecting healthcare providers.

First, who exactly should be concerned about these different types of environmental issues? These would include any of the following

  • Ambulatory surgical centers
  • Birthing centers
  • Blood banks
  • Clinics (medical, dental and veterinary)
  • Dialysis centers
  • Educational/research centers
  • Emergency centers
  • Hospices
  • Hospitals
  • Pharmacies
  • Pharma manufacturers
  • Laboratories (clinical and diagnostic)
  • Long-term care facilities
  • Research facilities

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This article is reprinted with the permission of Becker's Hospital Review, ©2013.