Four Hackensack Meridian Health Hospitals Recognized for Work in Sustainability

Four hospitals within Hackensack Meridian Health became the first in the country to earn the Joint Commission’s Sustainable Healthcare Certification (SHC). This impressive honor acknowledges hospitals that have gone above and beyond to grow sustainability efforts within the healthcare industry.

The four Hackensack Meridian Health hospitals that were able to achieve the Joint Commission’s SHC are:

  • Hackensack Meridian University Center, Hackensack, New Jersey
  • Hackensack Meridian Bayshore Medical Center, Holmdel, New Jersey
  • Hackensack Meridian Jersey Shore University Medical Center, Neptune, New Jersey
  • Hackensack Meridian Ocean University Medical Center, Ocean, New Jersey

“We are incredibly proud to be the first hospital network inthe nation to receive The Joint Commission’s Sustainable Healthcare Certification,” said Robert C. Garrett, FACHE, CEO of Hackensack Meridian Health. “This prestigious recognition is a testament to our unwavering commitment to environmental stewardship and sustainability. As the healthcare industry continues to evolve, we recognize the importance of operating in a responsible and sustainable manner. This certification demonstrates our leadership in this critical area and our dedication to protecting the health of our patients, communities, and planet for generations to come.”

The healthcare industry is responsible for nearly 1/10th of carbon emissions across the United States, which is why it is essential for hospitals to look for alternative methods that could create a safer environment. While the care that hospitals give is life-saving, their carbon footprint is pushing the future of our environment down a dangerous path.

The purpose of the Joint Commission’s SHC is to give healthcare organizations a blueprint on how to effectively minimize their carbon footprint, relying on industry leaders like Hackensack Meridian Health to pave the way, inspiring more organizations to follow its methods. In doing this, the hope is to push more healthcare organizations to utilize greener and more sustainable practices.

The Joint Commission works to improve healthcare for everyone, by evaluating healthcare organizations and inspiring them to provide the highest quality of care possible. The Joint Commission is the nation’s oldest and largest standards-setting body in the healthcare industry, highlighting the prestige that this certification holds for Hackensack Meridian Health

The four hospitals were able to earn SHC by prioritizing sustainability initiatives by measuring three sources of their greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions and crafting a plan to lower them.

Hackensack Meridian Health has been able to build a reputation as one of the nation’s leaders in sustainability over time. Some of the recent actions that have led them to achieve this status are:

  • Implementing the use of 30 MW on-site solar and battery storage
  • Investing over $116 million in energy-efficient infrastructure upgrades
  • Achieving PEER Gold certification for Hackensack University Medical Center’s Central Utility Plant
  • Reprocessing medical devices, simultaneously saving $1.71 million and diverting 40,000 pounds from landfills

Hackensack Meridian Health and the Joint Commission were both original signatories of the White House and U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Climate Pledge, meaning that they have both pledged to cut their GHG emissions in half by 2030 and reach net zero by 2050

“The link between equity and environmental sustainability in healthcare is undeniable. Not everyone is equally at risk from the effects of climate change. The individuals least able to compensate for the effects are those already burdened with adverse social determinants of health,” says Jonathan B. Perlin, MD, PhD, MSHA, MACP, FACMI, president and chief executive officer, The Joint Commission enterprise. “Achieving The Joint Commission’s Healthcare Equity Certification and Sustainable Healthcare Certification demonstrate Hackensack Meridian Health’s leadership role and commitment toward responsible and ethical practices.”

Hackensack Meridian Health’s continued efforts to create a sustainable future and a safer environment were able to help them achieve SHC. However, the healthcare organization’s ultimate goal is not earning this honor, but rather helping pave the way for more members of the healthcare industry to work towards adopting eco-friendly practices.