We’ve been working to achieve a variety of sustainability goals and, thanks to the support of our employees, members, patients and the community, we’re making some impressive progress! Since 2013, HealthPartners’ Sustainability Program has been recognized at the city, state and national level and received a total of 45 awards. We’ve also received nine grants from various county and city partners totaling $163,000 to enhance our programming.

We’re investing in energy efficiency and opting to use renewable energy when possible.

  • We’ve upgraded our lighting and equipment to more efficient technology and are maximizing use of energy saving practices in our building operations. That decreased energy usage equated to $229,000 in savings in 2015.
  • Since fall 2014, Westfields Hospital and Park Nicollet Clinic—Plymouth have both used onsite solar panels to generate electricity. The total amount of solar energy generated at the two locations in 2015 was equivalent to the energy that 6.8 houses would use.
  • In 2015, Westfields Hospital also signed a subscription agreement on a local community solar garden and is the largest investor in the project. Once fully operational, Westfields’ portion of the solar garden will generate the equivalent of almost four houses worth of fossil fuel-free electricity each year.

We’re making sustainable choices available to our patients, members and the community at large.

  • We make telemedicine easily available for you to use with virtuwell. If 200,000 patients opted to use virtuwell for diagnosis and treatment rather than traveling an average of 10 miles to and from a clinic, 72,000 fewer gallons of gas would be burned and released into the environment. Using virtuwell also eliminates the paper, electricity and cleaning chemicals associated with maintaining an exam room.
  • We make it convenient for you to go paperless with your health plan! More than 460,000 HealthPartners medical and dental plan members have selected to receive their Explanations of Benefits (EOBs) online through their myPartner accounts. Together, they save more than 50 trees each year.
  • We host annual electronic waste recycling events in partnership with Tech Dump and Green Lights Recycling for the community and our staff. At these events, individuals can dispose of their unwanted cell phones, laptops and other computer-based products for free. In 2015, we collected and recycled 37 tons of e-waste.

We’re incentivizing our employees to be sustainable.

  • HealthPartners offers a transportation benefit plan to our employees to encourage them to use public mass transit. More than 100 employees currently take advantage of it to purchase bus and light rail passes through the convenience of a pre-tax payroll deduction.
  • More than 270 HealthPartners employees work hard to lead our sustainability initiatives as members of nine green teams and five sustainability work groups across our organization.
  • In 2015, we hosted a drive to collect unused adult t-shirts and donated them to Bundles of Love. That charity then used the fabric to create 165 baby t-shirts to clothe newborns across the Twin Cities area, including at Regions and Methodist Hospitals.

We’re focused on reducing waste in three key areas.

1) In our medical facilities:

  • It’s estimated that operating rooms generate between 20-30 percent of a hospital’s total waste. To combat that, we have implemented environmentally preferred purchasing, single-use device reprocessing, and the use of surgical fluid management systems. We saved more than $900,000 with these initiatives in 2015.
  • In 2015, we diverted almost 100 tons of operating room waste from landfills. That includes Westfields Hospital and Clinic donating 1,100 pounds of blue wrap that had been used in association with surgical instruments. Through partnerships with several local organizations, the blue wrap “waste” is now being used by children to build creative projects and by community sewing groups to produce reusable bags that are sold as a fundraising effort. HealthPartners actually bought back 500 of the blue bags to give away to medical and dental plan members that attend our Annual Meeting!

2) In our pharmacies:

  • Since 2011, more than 7,900 pounds of medication have been collected from more than 7,000 people at 25 community locations as part of HealthPartners’ Take-Back disposal program. We properly dispose of the medication to prevent it from being taken by those for whom it is not intended, as well as from being released into the environment and polluting our water supply.

3) In all of our facilities, including administrative buildings:

  • We have removed Styrofoam from our organization’s nutrition services supply chain to do our part in keeping it out of landfills.
  • Since 2011, HealthPartners has reduced paper usage across the organization by more than 13 percent. In 2015 alone, we decreased our paper usage more than 7.1 million pieces of paper, which equated to saving around 860 trees!
  • Recycling bins are available in each and every one of our 130 buildings, which contributed to us keeping more than 1,200 tons of material out of landfills and incinerators in 2015.
  • Many of our facilities also have receptacles for organic and food waste. In 2015, 107 tons of organic material was composted or used as animal feed.
    • Food waste from Regions and Lakeview Hospitals goes to Barthold Farms in St. Francis, Minnesota.
    • Hudson Hospital composts some of their kitchen organic waste onsite and uses it to fertilize their community garden.
    • HealthPartners’ corporate headquarters in Bloomington sends its organics to a commercial compost facility in Empire Township, Minnesota.
    • Methodist Hospital recently received a $50,000 grant from Hennepin County to establish a full organics collection. Methodist Hospital joins Park Nicollet Melrose Center and Maple Grove Clinic & Specialty Center as facilities with onsite organic waste compactors.