AURORA—Provena Mercy Medical Center recently received the “Making Medicine Mercury Free” award from Practice Greenhealth, the national membership organization dedicated to providing environmental solutions for the health care industry.
The 2012 award recognizes Provena Mercy for its efforts to reduce mercury and for its commitment to environmental responsibility. The “Making Medicine Mercury Free” honor is bestowed on organizations that implemented proven policies to rid the facility of the harmful chemical mercury, and to prevent it from re-entering the facility.
To receive the award, a hospital must show that it has virtually eliminated mercury from its site and is committed to continue that practice.
Recently, Provena Mercy conducted a hospital-wide survey and, where possible, eliminated products containing mercury, such as thermometers and gauges. The hospital also established an Environmental Purchasing Policy that eliminates the use of products containing mercury.
“We know that the use of mercury in health care jeopardizes public health and the environment,” said Lamar Davis, assistant vice president of facilities at Provena Mercy Medical Center. “We’ve created better alternatives for caring for our patients that do not involve mercury.”
In November 2012, Provena Mercy kicked off its “Think Green” initiative to reduce waste and help the environment.
“Increased recycling efforts not only help the environment, but they also save money, which we are putting back into the community,” Davis said. “Proceeds from recyclables are going into funds to help those in need in the community.”
Proceeds from recycled paper assist Provena Mercy patients who have financial need, while proceeds from plastic, aluminum and glass go to Association for Individual Development.
“It’s just the right thing to do,” Davis said.
So far this year, Provena Mercy has recycled 834 pounds of bottles, cans and plastics; and 3,327 pounds of paper. That’s more than the weight of an elephant or small car.