California health systems form alliance to advise on climate change laws, regulations

As deadly fires and record-breaking heat waves ravage California, four of the state's largest health systems joined to form the California Health Care Climate Alliance ahead of the Global Climate Action Summit in September to call for greater coordinated action to address climate change.

Oakland, Calif.-based Kaiser Permanente, San Francisco-based Dignity Health, Renton, Wash.-based Providence St. Joseph Health and Sacramento, Calif.-based Sutter Health represent 107 hospitals in the state and serve over 20 million patients combined. Their new coalition will work to bring an expert healthcare perspective to the crafting of climate change regulations and legislation.

"Climate change causes extreme heat waves, wildfires and droughts that hurt people, makethem sick—and worse," said Elizabeth Baca, MD, senior health adviser in the Governor's Office of Planning and Research. "This alliance of large California health providers is taking action to help make our hospitals and healthcare systems more resilient and better prepared for the worst impacts of climate change."

Alliance members have committed to reducing their own greenhouse gas emissions to help in California's effort to transition to 100 percent clean energy.

"At Dignity Health, we believe that our well-being is inextricably connected to the health of our planet. We also see the effect of environmental change on vulnerable populations— the elderly, our children, people with chronic diseases, and in low-income communities," said Dignity Health CEO Lloyd Dean. "We look forward to working with the other members of the new California Health Care Climate Alliance and policymakers in Sacramento to build healthier, more resilient communities for all Californians."

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