Six health care systems in May announced a new initiative to promote actions that can reduce health care's environmental footprint and improve health outcomes.

The Healthier Hospitals Initiative (HHI)—spearheaded by Advocate Health Care, Catholic Healthcare West, HCA Inc., Kaiser Permanente, MedStar Health and Partners Healthcare—identifies steps hospitals can take to help improve their environment and, as a result, prevent environment-related illness, create environmental benefits and save billions of dollars in health care expenses.

Health Care Without Harm, Practice Greenhealth and the Center for Health Design will provide expertise and technical assistance to help hospitals carry out HHI recommendations.

Tenets of the initiative's agenda include the following:
• Improve environmental health and patient safety;
• Reduce health care's use of natural resources and generation of waste; and
• Institutionalize sustainability and safety.

Hospitals can demonstrate their support for the program by becoming a sponsoring organization, or by signing a pledge of endorsement and participating in activities to implement the agenda in their institutions. They can also participate in the online sharing of information and expertise and collaborate with other health care institutions to encourage and assist with sustainability efforts.

More information about the group and ways that hospitals can participate can be found at