Across HealthPartners hospitals, clinics and operations, we are committed to responsible stewardship of our natural resources. We are annually recognized by leading organizations dedicated to evaluating the sustainability efforts of health care organizations. Sustainability best practices range from lighting selection to renewable energy use – and everything in between.
In 2020, Practice Greenhealth, the nation’s leading organization dedicated to environmental stewardship in health care, recognized HealthPartners with 31 awards – a new record for our organization. In 2021, HealthPartners received the System for Change award for the seventh year in a row, and six of our organization’s hospitals received Environmental Excellence recognition.
At the start of the pandemic, our teams quickly switched to video visits to keep both employees and patients safe. By embracing this technology, patients who typically came to clinics for in-person visits saved nearly 15 million miles and 600,000 gallons of gas.
And when many administrative employees moved to a remote work setting, miles driven and overall emissions fell by nearly 65 percent.
By working remotely, employees traveled less for business purposes as well, further reducing emissions and saving almost $1.2 million in mileage reimbursement costs.
HealthPartners renewed our commitment to renewable energy with a focus on the Community Solar Garden program in Minnesota. In 2020 alone, our use of energy from local solar gardens saved more than $215,000, in addition to $12,000 saved from our three on-site solar installations. Together, our solar energy commitments saved enough electricity to power 1,500 houses.
Through the medicine take-back program, HealthPartners collects unneeded and unused medication from community members at no charge. We then properly dispose of them so they are not misused or discharged into the environment through water streams. In 2020, HealthPartners collected 4,211 pounds of medication from the public through this program, which currently operates at six HealthPartners hospital facilities. Since 2011, we have properly managed over 38,500 pounds of medication for our community.