Have you been part of one of the ThedaCare community conversations yet? I hope so! As we talk with business leaders, economic development leaders, nonprofit leaders, consumers and everyday folk about bringing our two Fox Cities hospitals into one regional medical center, we’re hearing thoughtful comments, feedback and questions about our idea.
One question we’ve heard a few times is about the impact our proposal would have on the environment. It’s a great question!
I trust it won’t surprise you to know that we honor the environmentally-sound business practices you would recognize in your own business, or others. Building and operating sustainably matter to us, and to the community. Importantly, our commitment to sustainability is rooted in our mission statement – which is to improve the health of the communities we serve. We are dedicated to living up to that commitment now, and in the future.
The best example of that commitment is ThedaCare Medical Center-Shawano and its adjacent physician clinic. This new hospital, which opened in fall of 2015, replaced an 82-year-old, much loved hospital that served its community well. Over time, however, additions and remodeling could accomplish only so much as we changed care processes and upgraded technology and equipment. It was time to move into the future.
The new hospital is a bright, welcoming place that has been recognized as a Silver LEED-certified facility. Although its energy efficiencies are significant and certainly worth noting (in no small part because they provide cost savings), I’m particularly impressed with the internal environmental quality recognized by LEED. This is where patients, families and visitors experience more natural light, flex spaces that can serve multiple uses, better air quality, improved privacy (including sound privacy), reduced noise, and more effective temperature control.
The design of the hospital emphasizes outdoor views, close proximity of related services, and easy access to the lab and X-ray services, among other improvements. It is truly a place where patients experience quality care today and where ThedaCare can prepare for the care innovations of tomorrow. What’s more, we can attract and retain top talent – all in a recognized, environmentally friendly facility.
For the third year in a row, ThedaCare has earned a national honor for creating a culture of sustainability that benefits patients, employees and communities. Vizient, the largest member-owned healthcare company in the nation, recently presented ThedaCare with its 2016 Excellence Award for Sustainability. The award recognizes our employees’ efforts to reduce our overall carbon footprint through planting local gardens, supporting healthier food and beverages in our facilities, increased recycling, and significant reductions in energy use and waste material headed to the landfill. Our efforts to improve air quality by reducing carbon emissions mean less polluted air and easier breathing, especially for people who experience asthma, bronchitis and emphysema.
As we look to the future of health care in the Fox Cities, people can be assured that one smaller, more efficient, better designed hospital will meet our standards for environmental sustainability, and will prompt good health. We’ve demonstrated deep commitment to being green, and we’re not done yet.
By Dr. Dean Gruner, president and CEO of Appleton-based ThedaCare. To send your thoughts to him, email firstname.lastname@example.org.