A group of eight of Washington’s largest health systems have formed an alliance focused on helping to protect communities from the dire health impacts of climate change, such as more frequent heat waves, wildfires and the resulting poor air quality they create.
The new alliance, called the Washington Health Care Climate Alliance, or the WA Alliance, will advocate for smarter climate policies and regulations related to energy, transportation, food, waste, infrastructure and overall community resilience. In addition, members of the WA Alliance are working to make their own industry more climate friendly and have or are developing greenhouse gas-reduction goals for their operations.
The health care systems in the new WA Alliance represent some 40 hospitals and more than 1,000 heath care facilities serving nearly 9 million patients.
The WA Alliance will work in collaboration with the Health Are Without Harm organization, which also supports similar alliances in California and Massachusetts. It is focused on reducing the health care sector’s climate impact by building climate-smart hospitals and applying the industry’s economic and political influence to advance a low-carbon future.
“Health care needs to expand its healing mission to healing communities and the planet, which sustains us all,” says Health Care Without Harm’s President and co-founder Gary Cohen. “Hospitals are on the front lines of the climate crisis. Health care must be part of the solution, mitigating their footprint, investing in climate-ready facilities and becoming advocates for clean energy policies.”
The Washington health systems that are part of the WA Alliance are the following:
*Providence St. Joseph Health
*Swedish Health Services
*Virginia Mason Medical Center