Hospitals push for climate resiliency but face financial barriers, report shows

Essential hospitals — those that serve a disproportionate share of low-income and uninsured patients — recognize the need to mitigate climate change and build climate resilience, but face financial constraints in funding practices that achieve this, according to a new report from Essential Hospitals Institute, the development arm of America's Essential Hospitals.

For the report, the institute surveyed more than 300 essential hospitals. The survey found 85 percent of respondents have installed or plan to install energy-efficient lighting, and nearly 72 percent have upgraded or plan to upgrade building control and automation systems to reduce energy use. 

Respondents also said 56 percent of their total energy needs are met by renewable resources, according to the survey. Overall, the survey found that more than 50 percent of respondents initiated some energy-reducing activity.

But respondents said their organizations face various obstacles implementing climate change mitigation and/or resilience initiatives, including competing funding priorities (80 percent) and staff time limitations (73 percent). 

The report recommended educating hospital leaders and governing bodies about the issue to promote and support climate resiliency and mitigation efforts. The report also recommended "set[ting] goals for sustainability and resilience practices" as well as "invest[ing] in climate resiliency and sustainability." 

 

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