Jan 24, 2024 - Health

Health care providers want hospitals to fight climate change

Data: The Commonwealth Fund; Chart: Axios Visuals
Data: The Commonwealth Fund; Chart: Axios Visuals

Nearly 80% of health care providers say it's important for their hospital to minimize its environmental impact, according to a large new Commonwealth Fund survey of clinicians.

Why it matters: Health care accounts for 8.5% of U.S. greenhouse gas emissions, with hospitals responsible for the largest portion of those emissions.

  • Hospitals are making efforts to curb their environmental footprints, but steeper reductions will require buy-in from across the organization. Interest from providers is "especially critical," the Commonwealth Fund said.

Zoom in: Commonwealth's survey of 1,001 clinicians, conducted in October, found that those working at nonprofit hospitals or health systems were slightly more likely than those working in government-run or for-profit facilities to value their employer's environmental policies.

  • Of those in leadership positions, about 7 in 10 said their organization is already taking steps to reduce waste and energy consumption. Far fewer — about 1 in 3 — reported setting or measuring emissions targets.
  • Providers across regions, age and provider type reported similar rates of interest in their organization addressing climate change.

Yes, but: Clinicians were less likely to say a hospital's environmental policies would affect their decision to apply for a job (62%) or whether to stay at a job (53%).

Of note: As of November, 86 hospitals and health systems had signed onto the Biden administration's health sector climate pledge to cut their emissions in half by 2030.

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