Missoula, MT (KGVO-AM News) - Missoula’s Providence St. Patrick Hospital was recently recognized as being one of the top 25 hospitals in the nation for pursuing environmental excellence.

KGVO News spoke to Sarah Johnson R.N., St. Pat’s clinical program manager for environmental stewardship on Tuesday who was understandably proud of gaining that distinction once again.

St. Pats Leads the Way in Environmental Stewardship

“Providence St. Patrick's Hospital has partnered with Practice Greenhealth for a number of years dating back to 2008,” began Johnson. “Practice Greenhealth is an organization that aims to decrease health care's impact on our environment. Now within Providence, we have been aiming to do this since 1993. St. Patrick's Hospital is really special because it is more or less the birthplace of our environmental stewardship movement, with Dr. Beth Schenk, leading early recycling efforts.”

Johnson gave a great deal of credit to Dr. Beth Schenk for pioneering environmental stewardship at the hospital.

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Long-Time Staffer Dr. Schenk Initiated Many of the Programs

“The program that we have now has grown,” she said. “We use what we call the We Act framework, which was developed by Dr. Beth Schenk, and it stands for Waste Energy and water, agriculture and food, chemicals and transportation. And what we have done and what Practice Greenhealth has recognized is we've used this We Act framework to decrease the impact of health care across the organization, both within St. Pat's and throughout Providence. We've been able to do that by tracking data which looks at carbon emissions related to all of those categories, cost, and usage.”

Johnson expressed her pride in the accomplishments of St. Patrick's Hospital in the area of environmental stewardship.

“For St. Pat's, some of our big wins, some of the things that have elevated our program in the eyes of the Practice Greenhealth, who gives out this award, is that we were able to reduce our greenhouse gas emissions by 10.2 percent from our baseline year in 2019,” she said. “That's when we really started doing the deep dive and tracking our data on our We Act scorecard, but we've been tracking data for a long time, much longer than that. And from 2021 to 2022, we reduced our emissions by 4.46 percent.”

Nurse Johnson said it's a 'Long Term' Commitment to the Environment

Johnson said the environmental efforts at St. Patrick's Hospital are designed for the long term.

“One of the things that we've done here at St. Pat's is really set up a structure to support incorporating goals for decarbonizing healthcare into roles through our organization from leadership to frontline clinical staff,” she said. “We plan to continue this work. We really want everyone to understand how this work is tied to our mission and that when we take efforts to reduce the impact of our work, we're taking better care of ourselves, our organization, and the environment in which we love and live.”

The hospital also received the ‘Greening the OR’ (Operating Room) Recognition Award and a Circle of Excellence Award for Waste from Practice Greenhealth, the nation’s leading organization dedicated to environmental sustainability in health care.

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