Senator Clinton Introduces 'Green Hospitals' Legislation
Brings Fresh Produce, Green Construction & Energy Savings to Hospitals
Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton today introduced legislation designed to improve environmentally sustainable practices in the health care industry. Her Green Hospitals package will expand the availability of locally produced, nutritious foods; encourage green construction and renovation; and expand environmentally sustainable building maintenance and operations.
"This legislation will make hospitals and health care facilities greener, healthier, and more efficient. Helping our hospitals join the green revolution promises so many benefits, from significant savings on energy costs to improved diet and wellness for patients and employees," Senator Clinton said. "This is also an exciting new way to help New York farms find new markets for their produce. I have worked to get fresh foods into schools and underserved communities. Now we are adding hospitals to that list."
Senator Clinton's Green Hospitals package is made up of three bills:
* The Healthy Foods for Healthy Lives Act would authorize the United States Department of Agriculture to provide $25 million annually in funding to help hospitals, VA centers, and nutrition service organizations provide locally produced healthy food to patients, employees and clients. It builds on Senator Clinton's successful Farm-to-Fork initiative and her legislation to bring healthy foods into schools.
* The Green Hospitals, Healthy Hospitals Act would provide $100 million annually in long term, no-interest loans to hospitals to help them engage in green hospital construction and renovation, with priority given to hospitals serving low-income families.
* The Greening the Health Care Workforce Act would provide $10 million annually in Environmental Protection Agency grants to health care institutions to help them train their employees in environmentally sustainable practices.
Senator Clinton has been a leader in the Senate on environmental health issues. She has introduced multiple bills - including the Family Asthma Act, the Coordinated Environmental Public Health Network Act, the Lead Elimination, Abatement and Poisoning Prevention Act, and the Home Lead Safety Tax Credit Act - to help decrease exposures to the environmental pollutants linked to illness, and expand our understanding of the links between environment and disease.
Last year Senator Clinton and Senator John Kerry (D-MA) introduced the Zero-Emissions Building Act to require that all new federal buildings or major renovations reduce carbon dioxide emissions by 50 percent as compared to a 2003 baseline. In 2010, and every five years after that, the emissions reduction level would increase by 10 percent, until new federal buildings reach "zero-emissions" in 2030. (See http://clinton.senate.gov/news/statements/details.cfm?id=271726)
Senator Clinton has long been a champion of New York farmers and producers of fresh and healthy foods. Her Farm-to-Fork initiative has helped connect producers with restaurants, schools, and under-served communities. The recently enacted Farm Bill included key provisions Senator Clinton introduced along with Senator Sherrod Brown (D-OH) which aimed to increase the supply and availability of locally produced foods to underserved communities by providing innovative financing for small and midsized family farmers and ranchers, and also included measures to increase the amount of fruits and vegetables in school meals. (See more: http://clinton.senate.gov/news/statements/details.cfm?id=297875 and http://clinton.senate.gov/news/statements/details.cfm?id=286121)