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Kaiser Permanente, announced today that it will require suppliers to provide environmental data for $1 billion worth of medical equipment and products used in its hospitals, medical offices and other facilities. A BIG job. Hospitals and clinics aren't easily eco-friendly due to so many disposables and packaging issues, but hopefully the new Sustainability Scorecard, the first of its kind in health care will help.

The Scorecard is meant to help Kaiser Permanente evaluate the sustainability of each medical item it purchases while also encouraging suppliers across the industry to provide greener products for the health care sector. Kaiser Permanente spends more than $1 billion each year on medical products so greening those products up is a huge issue.

Other Kaiser Permanente environmental policies are already in place such as green built facilities, greener cleaning chemicals and IV tubing free of potentially harmful chemicals to name a few. Also, last month, the organization announced it had agreed to deploy 15 megawatts of solar power in a deal that will put solar panels at 15 Kaiser Permanente facilities across the state by the summer of 2011.

This news makes me happy since I actually have insurance through Kaiser for my son - when I was looking for health insurance for him, I did look at some green issues but more so I looked at services, so this is just like a cherry on a cake.

For more information about Kaiser Permanente's environmental efforts, go the www.kp.org/green.