Updated Dec 15, 2021 - Axios Events

Watch: A conversation on climate resilience in the health care system

On Wednesday, December 15th, Axios health care editor Tina Reed and senior editor Sam Baker discussed how the health care sector is considering its environmental impact through policy and infrastructure, featuring National Academy of Medicine president Dr. Victor J. Dzau and Rep. Lauren Underwood (D-Ill.).

Dr. Victor J. Dzau described how various entities can collaborate to drive down health care industry emissions, the intersection between climate change and adverse health effects, and practical steps the industry can take to reduce its own carbon footprint.

  • On health care industry contributions to climate change: “The U.S. health sector contributes 8.5%, as much as even up to 10%, of carbon emissions in the United States, that’s a huge number. As a system that cares for patients, certainly we should not contribute to climate change and the negative health effects of climate change.”
  • On public-private collaboration to reduce industry emissions: “Health care also buys lots of products, and the supply chain emits a huge amount of carbon and greenhouse emissions. So supply chain, such as transportation, packaging, manufacturing, can all change…let’s now think about how to innovate and how to get systematic changes to reduce overall the emission of carbon in our health sector.”

Rep. Lauren Underwood highlighted how the health care industry should be thinking about climate resiliency in their infrastructure, the need for more investment in health care systems amidst a rise in destructive climate-related extreme weather, and how the system as a whole should address its own environmental impact.

  • On the need for more investment in climate resiliency: “The key is getting that incorporated into our policies and procedures at the institution health systems level and making sure that support is there with our federal policies and reimbursement structures to make sure that all patients have access to the health care that they need in the aftermath of these weather-related disasters…”
  • On the role of the health care system in addressing environmental impacts: “I think that at a really tactical level, it’s the responsibility of health care systems to be encouraging their providers to have these conversations with their individual patients, make sure that those patients understand the specific climate change related risks that are associated with the co-morbidities that they may be presenting with.”

Axios Chief Business Officer Fabricio Drumond hosted a View from the Top segment with HDA president & chief executive officer Chester “Chip” Davis, Jr., who explained how the health care sector is working to decarbonize their supply chains.

  • “I think the other thing that you see is many companies in the industry that are focused on laying down their own public-facing commitments to reduce their own carbon footprint. We have a number of our leading members who have talked about setting public goals to, for example, a 50% reduction in their greenhouse gas emissions by 2030.”

Thank you HDA for sponsoring this event.

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