The Joint Commission (JC), the largest organization for setting standards and awarding accreditations in U.S. healthcare, has announced a new Sustainable Healthcare Certification program. Hospitals will have the opportunity to have their climate-conservation efforts officially recognized through this voluntary program. The certification program will be open to both JC-accredited hospitals and those that are not. Its focus will be on rewarding achievements in “decarbonization” performance.
The JC emphasizes that healthcare organizations that prioritize sustainability can benefit from cost savings, operating efficiencies, staff recruitment and retention, and potential payments and tax credits. Additionally, decarbonization is crucial for improving healthcare equity and patient safety, as the individuals most affected by climate change are often burdened with adverse social determinants of health.
Jonathan Perlin, MD, PhD, President and CEO of the Joint Commission, explains that the objective of the program is to encourage hospitals to collectively reduce the healthcare sector’s carbon footprint. By doing so, they can help reduce hospital visits, illnesses, premature deaths, and medical costs associated with severe weather events and other climate impacts.
To aid hospitals in participating in the program, the JC has launched the Sustainable Healthcare Resource Center, a dedicated website. The resource center provides assistance and guidance for hospitals interested in applying for certification. A pre-application form is also available on the JC’s website to be filled out ahead of the official application opening on January 1, 2024.
This initiative by the JC reflects the growing importance of sustainability in the healthcare industry and recognizes the potential impact hospitals can have in mitigating climate change. By formalizing and acknowledging hospitals’ climate-conservation efforts, the program aims to drive positive change in patient care, environmental impact, and overall healthcare outcomes.
– Joint Commission Announcement: [Link]
– Sustainable Healthcare Resource Center: [Link]
– Pre-Application Form: [Link]