At over 28.5 million, the population of Texas is the second largest in the U.S. and is expected to double by 2050. In response, existing healthcare is expanding rapidly. In 2017, eight out of the 25 largest employers in Texas were either hospitals or research facilities. Many healthcare providers are leading the way to create healthy communities by incorporating sustainability within their facilities and using nature to provide both healing opportunities to patients and vital habitat for Texas’ flora and fauna.For a health system, conservation isn’t just using less energy and water in its facilities. It’s also about providing the most affordable and accessible healthcare possible. Luckily, Texas Health Resources is up for the challenge.
One of the region’s largest employers, the Dallas-Fort Worth health system’s service area covers seven million people living in 16 counties. Through its more than 350 care locations, which include acute-care, behavioral health and rehabilitation hospitals, imaging, ambulatory surgery centers and doctors’ offices, as well as home health and preventive care, Texas Health offers a broad spectrum of health and well-being services for North Texans.
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“We intentionally look for ways to operate efficiently, forge strategic affiliations to leverage our shared resources, and design programs that close care, cost and consumption gaps,” says Barclay E. Berdan, CEO of Texas Health.
In addition, Texas Health has invested millions in projects that lowered energy consumption by 2.56 percent over the last five years, saving $15 million in utility costs. Recycling efforts diverted more than 108,000 pounds of pulse oximeters and other medical devices from landfills in 2018 alone. The system also hosts community shredding and recycling drives, in addition to participating in a laundry cooperative that conserves millions of gallons of water annually. In addition, Texas Health has installed water-efficient irrigation, sprinkler, and plumbing systems to save water and money.
Texas Health has also found ways to offer care more efficiently and affordably, helping Fort Worth save an estimated $4.8 million by steering city employees to telehealth or primary care services instead of emergency rooms. The health system also provides virtual pastoral care and faith counseling to employees, patients, and their families, which reduces transportation costs and emissions.
“The need for conservation—in healthcare and in all facets of life—is only going to escalate as the Texas population continues to grow,” says Shaun Clinton, senior vice president, supply chain management. “Our state’s resources are finite and managing them well will require government, business, and civic organizations coming together to design, fund, and implement meaningful solutions.”