Hospitals could be asked to report emissions in 2026

Starting in 2026, CMS could ask hospitals to report emissions.

The voluntary Decarbonization and Resilience Initiative is "designed to address threats posed by climate change to the nation's health and health care system by collecting, monitoring, assessing, and addressing hospital carbon emissions and their effects on health outcomes, costs, and quality," according to a CMS release. 

Participants in the initiative would be asked to report metrics in four priority areas — organizational, building energy, anesthetic gas and transportation. The voluntary program is proposed to start Jan. 1, 2026, and end Dec. 31, 2030.

The initiative marks the first time HHS has proposed collecting data on healthcare greenhouse gas emissions. The healthcare industry accounted for an estimated 8.5% of total domestic greenhouse gas emissions in 2018. 

More efficient healthcare delivery can contribute to saving Medicare and hospital costs. For example, Children's Mercy Hospital in Kansas City reported $170,000 annual savings from changing the flow rates of anesthetic gasses and Gundersen Lutheran reported at least $500,000 to $1 million in energy savings annually from their energy efficiency measures, according to the release.

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