Environmental impact reports requested for medical products

The sustainability assessments are being required by Kaiser Permanente for supplies sold to any of its facilities.

By Victoria Stagg Elliott — Posted June 9, 2010

Print  |   Email  |   Respond  |   Reprints  |   Like Facebook  |   Share Twitter  |   Tweet Linkedin

Information about the environmental impact of various medical supplies, devices and equipment is expected to become more available, because a large purchaser will be requiring it.

Kaiser Permanente announced May 4 that its vendors would need to complete sustainability assessments about each product sold to a Kaiser facility. Information on the company's environmental efforts, as well as data about the recycling potential of the product and its packaging, will be among several factors that affect purchasing decisions.

However, "the clinical performance is always the most critical and highly-rated factor," said Robert Gotto, Kaiser's executive director of procurement and supply.

Kaiser spends about $1 billion on medical products annually. Several supply chain partners said they will be ready to provide the information by September. Because these companies also serve other institutions, the requirement is expected to eventually influence $10 billion in annual medical product purchases.

"Kaiser Permanente recognizes we can improve health today and for the future by taking a close look at the products we purchase," said Dean Edwards, the organization's vice president and chief procurement officer. "With Kaiser Permanente's size and influence, the work we're doing is continuing to move the industry."

Kaiser has long had environmental guidelines calling for reduced use of chemicals that could harm the environment and has worked to reduce the use of devices containing mercury. It is installing solar panels at its facilities.

Medical societies have long been working on green issues, and the American Medical Association's Council on Science and Public Health issued a report on the subject in November 2008 (link).

The AMA supports the use of ecologically sustainable products, foods, and materials when possible, as well as communitywide adoption of "green" initiatives by organizations, businesses, homes, schools, government bodies and health care entities.

Back to top



Read story

Confronting bias against obese patients

Medical educators are starting to raise awareness about how weight-related stigma can impair patient-physician communication and the treatment of obesity. Read story

Read story


American Medical News is ceasing publication after 55 years of serving physicians by keeping them informed of their rapidly changing profession. Read story

Read story

Policing medical practice employees after work

Doctors can try to regulate staff actions outside the office, but they must watch what they try to stamp out and how they do it. Read story

Read story

Diabetes prevention: Set on a course for lifestyle change

The YMCA's evidence-based program is helping prediabetic patients eat right, get active and lose weight. Read story

Read story

Medicaid's muddled preventive care picture

The health system reform law promises no-cost coverage of a lengthy list of screenings and other prevention services, but some beneficiaries still might miss out. Read story

Read story

How to get tax breaks for your medical practice

Federal, state and local governments offer doctors incentives because practices are recognized as economic engines. But physicians must know how and where to find them. Read story

Read story

Advance pay ACOs: A down payment on Medicare's future

Accountable care organizations that pay doctors up-front bring practice improvements, but it's unclear yet if program actuaries will see a return on investment. Read story

Read story

Physician liability: Your team, your legal risk

When health care team members drop the ball, it's often doctors who end up in court. How can physicians improve such care and avoid risks? Read story

  • Stay informed
  • Twitter
  • Facebook
  • RSS
  • LinkedIn