Affinity wins prestigious environmental award
06 / 10 / 2008
Maria Nelson, Media Relations
Affinity Health System
(920) 554-0686 (pager)
MENASHA, Wis. –Affinity Health System continues leading the way toward environmental excellence as a recipient of the Environmental Leadership Circle award at the 2008 Practice Greenhealth Awards ceremony May 20 in Pittsburgh. This is the third consecutive year Affinity received an award for environmental leadership and the second year of continuance in the Environmental Leadership Circle.
Gary Kusnierz, vice president, Performance Excellence, says Affinity’s dedication to being green started five years ago. “We went down this road initially because Affinity was already doing neat things and becoming aware of the need to be more environmentally aware.” Kusnierz adds Affinity’s induction and continuance at the highest level of the Practice Greenhealth Environmental Leadership Circle acknowledges the fact Affinity Health System is dedicated to demonstrating sustainability across the organization. Inclusion in the Greenhealth Environmental Leadership Circle also works hand in hand with Affinity’s core value of Stewardship.
In 2006, Affinity was honored for its efforts to eliminate mercury from medicines. The Making Medicine Mercury Free award reflects Affinity’s dedication to patient health and wellness. Kusnierz says efforts to reduce mercury use within Affinity started in 2002 and continues today.
Last year, Affinity was brought to the forefront of environmental stewardship with initial induction into the Environmental Leadership Circle, sponsored by Hospitals for a Healthy Environment (H2E). Kusnierz says, “All our efforts are indicative of our commitment to environmentally responsible health care and being responsible means reducing the use of natural resources, reducing costs and implementing sustainable design.”
Recycling is a huge initiative in practice by Affinity that goes well beyond merely recycling paper products. Some of the first renovations at St. Elizabeth hospital included the use of more than 100,000 lbs. of recycled construction debris. Kusnierz says ongoing remodeling efforts are twofold. “The cost of utilities continues to rise so we had to come up with innovative ways of reducing those costs while simultaneously giving patients a positive connection about their healthcare.” Adding larger windows to let sunshine in not only provides natural heat and light, but is also a positive distraction for patients. “People feel better about things and natural daylight views reduce patient stress,” Kusnierz says. “New buildings don’t look, feel or smell like a hospital or clinic.”
Affinity also holds certification status in the Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) Green Building Rating System. Created by the U.S. Green Building Counsel which recognizes environmentally friendly renovation and construction projects, Affinity’s LEED status is yet another important marker in its dedication to sustainable practices, sustainable designs and overall enhancement of the patient experience. Affinity currently holds LEED certification for four of its buildings.
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For the Editor:
Affinity Health System, a faith-based regional health care network, is the Fox Valley’s second-largest employer, according to the Fox Cities Chamber of Commerce & Industry. For the fourth consecutive year, Affinity has been named one of the nation’s top 64 health systems based on clinical performance according to Thomson Reuters, a leading provider of information and solutions to improve the cost and quality of health care. For ten consecutive years, Affinity Health System has been named to the SDI (formerly Verispan) Integrated Health Network Top 100, an annual assessment of the 100 most highly integrated health care networks in the nation. Both St. Elizabeth Hospital in Appleton and Mercy Medical Center in Oshkosh rank among the top 1 percent of hospitals nationwide in terms of quality and efficiency, as determined by the 2007 Premier | CareScience Select practice National Quality Award. Members of Affinity include Mercy Medical Center and Mercy Health Foundation, Oshkosh; St. Elizabeth Hospital and the St. Elizabeth Hospital Foundation, Appleton; Affinity Medical Group, a regional network of 25 family practice and specialty clinics – 22 of which are recognized as NCQA Level III medical homes, the highest level of recognition – in 14 communities; Calumet Medical Center, Chilton; and Affinity Occupational Health.