DRAFT Sustainability in Health Care Legislation



1. The Legislature finds and declares that:

a. There is a need to address sustainability in our state’s health care infrastructure as climate change is a significant driver of health and social determinants of health.

b. Health Care Without Harm (HCWH), an international organization working to make health care ecologically sustainable, has identified the United States is the world’s highest emitter of health care greenhouse gases, accounting for 27% of the global health care footprint.

c. Sustainability initiatives can add value, reduce negative health and environmental impacts, and save critical health care dollars.

d. Health care institutions have launched environmental initiatives from emergency conservation to green lab programs. The Kaiser Permanente health system is the first in the country to reach carbon neutrality, by taking sequential steps on the road to sustainability. They improved energy use efficiency 8% since 2013, saving $19.6 million annually, and decreased water use intensity 15.3%, saving $2.8 million annually.

e. New Jersey’s health care facilities must not be left behind and begin a change to sustainability and healthcare resiliency now for the benefit of our patients and our health systems.

2. Definitions:

As used in this section, “hospital” means an acute care general hospital licensed pursuant to P.L.1971, c.136 (C.26:2H-1 et seq.).

3. Every four years, a hospital shall adopt, develop, and submit to the Department of Health an environmental sustainability plan, which plan shall set goals to transition to high performance and sustainable operations, procurement, and buildings, provide for the efficient use of natural resources and consider the impact of the hospital on the local and regional environment.

4. a. A hospital’s environmental sustainability plan shall include the following areas of focus:

i. Leadership. Green Teams and a Sustainability Officer within the executive suite to ensure successful integration of sustainability into decision-making and day to day operations;

ii. Financing. Identify the financial implications, including potential savings, to implement the environmental sustainability plan and potential funding sources for any expenditure increases;

iii. Supply chain. Develop a sustainable purchasing strategy that prioritizes community and environmental health and safety through acquisition of sustainable supplies, electronics and other materials, and the prioritization of contracts with vendors focused on environmental sustainability;

iv. Waste. Evaluate hospital procurement with end-of-life disposition in decision making to reduce volume and toxicity of materials and wastes;

v. Water use reduction and conservation.

vi. Operating rooms. Rethink operating rooms from lighting to anesthesia to reusables to create less waste;

vii. Energy. Identify how to incorporate utilization of electricity produced from renewable energy sources, like wind and solar;

viii. Education. Provide educational materials and programs for employees and the community to model and change the culture of sustainability at the facility to reflect the connection between climate and health;

ix. Agriculture. Seek opportunities to purchase food through local and regional sources and purchase products with third-party certifications for quality and sustainability practices to shift the facility’s entire food service system toward sustainability;

x. Chemicals. Promote less toxic chemical usage from substances used to deliver health care to cleaning supplies and manage disposal effectively;

xi. Construction. Implement a facility policy or commitment to design and construct all new buildings and/or major renovations to LEED (or another green building) design standard;

xii. Transportation. Identify ways to lower the level of carbon emissions and reduce the carbon footprint of the hospital, including a plan to transition to electric or hybrid vehicles and other alternatives such as planting trees and purchasing carbon credits to offset emissions; and

xiii. Infrastructure resiliency. Foster health system resilience by recognizing interdependencies and linkages of supply and demand to its contextual factors;

b. A newly licensed hospital shall submit a sustainability plan within 6 months of license approval.

c. A hospital shall issue an annual progress report on the implementation of the environmental sustainability plan to the Commissioner of Health on January 15 of each year which shall also be published to the Department’s website and submitted to the New Jersey Legislature by the Commissioner.

5. The Commissioner may establish a Sustainability in Health Care Facilities Advisory Committee within the New Jersey Department of Health to support the Department in the review of sustainability plans submitted.

6. The Commissioner of Health, in consultation with the Commissioner of the Department of Environmental Protection, may adopt rules and regulations, in accordance with the “Administrative Procedure Act,” P.L.1968, c.410 (C.52:14B-1 et seq.), if necessary to effectuate the provisions of this act.

7. This act shall take effect immediately.

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