Hackensack Meridian Health - Proving Sustainable Health Care is Possible

Hackensack Meridian Health is the largest and most comprehensive and integrated health care organization in New Jersey with 16 hospitals and more than 450 patient care locations. In 2017, Hackensack Meridian Health experienced more than 175,000 patient admissions and 1.9 million outpatient visits. With the breadth of the network and the number of patients served each day, it takes an incredible effort to reduce its environmental footprint, but this is an important step in addressing climate change and well-worth the effort considering the health risks climate change poses. “Identifying ways to reduce that footprint is something that we take very seriously,” shares Robert Garrett, FACHE, co-CEO of Hackensack Meridian Health. “By operating more efficiently the savings go directly to our bottom line and enable us to continue to invest in the health of our patients and the community.”

Because of their steadfast commitment, Hackensack Meridian Health is leading the way in health care sustainability, and they have been nationally recognized for their work. Hackensack University Medical Center is home to The Deirdre Imus Environmental Health Center®, one of the first hospital-based programs whose mission is to identify, control and ultimately prevent toxic exposures in the environment that threaten our children’s health. Beginning with the Greening The Cleaning program in 2001, the center has helped Hackensack University Medical Center implement and expand its sustainable green practices, benefiting patients, team members and the wider community. Hackensack University Medical Center has successfully developed a sustainable model that is currently under expansion across Hackensack Meridian Health.

Advocacy: Since then Hackensack University Medical Center joined the American Sustainable Business Council to advocate for Safer Chemicals, Clean Energy and Climate Solutions. As a result of the sustainability efforts throughout Hackensack Meridian Health, Jersey Shore University Medical Center hosted Congressman Frank Pallone and the New Jersey Sustainable Business Council to discuss clean energy, green building and coastal resiliency. Hackensack Meridian Health continues to travel to Washington with its advocacy partner Ceres and their Business for Climate and Energy Policy (BICEP) Network to meet with legislators to educate them on the health and business benefits of clean energy and the danger climate change poses to people’s health.

Energy Efficiency: Through its partnership with their Utility, five of Hackensack Meridian Health’s northern hospitals invested over $30 million in energy efficiency measures. These measures included new 1500 ton chillers, boiler optimization, LED lighting conversions, upgraded lighting controls, VFD’s, upgraded motors and more. These measures will bring over $3 million in savings along with a reduction of 594,312 therms and 18,395,183 kWh

Resiliency: Hackensack Meridian Health has a commitment to resiliency. Riverview Medical Center, located on the Navesink River in Red Bank NJ, completed a $2.6 million flood mitigation project which included installation of bulkheads to prevent storm surges and relocated oxygen tanks.

The NJ FRAMES project is a regional and collaborative effort in coastal Monmouth County, NJ that seeks to understand and begin to address our future flood vulnerability. Climate change is causing sea level rise and increasing the frequency of flood events and storms in New Jersey. When extreme weather strikes Hackensack Meridian Health needs to be ready to serve patients and open its doors to the community.The end result of the NJ FRAMES project will be a long-term Regional Resilience and Adaptation Action Plan that will identify ways our communities can reduce risks and impact together. Riverview Medical Center leads as chair of the health and wellness committee for the NJ Frames program. The Project is facilitated by the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection (NJ DEP) through a grant from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA). “As our organization continues to expand, we have a social responsibility to make smart and impactful choices,” adds Garrett. “We are setting lofty goals to enhance our sustainable practices network-wide, to ensure a safe and healthy environment for our patients, team members and the community.”

Hackensack Meridian Health by the Numbers:
$5.5 billion in revenue
16 hospitals
33,000 team members
6,500 physicians
450 patient care locations
1.9M outpatient visits
175,000 patient admissions