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Recognized for mercury and waste reduction, recycling and pollution prevention

SEATTLE – (April 26, 2013) — Virginia Mason Medical Center has been recognized with the 2013 “Partner for Change, with Distinction” Award by Practice Greenhealth, the nation’s leading health care membership community that empowers its members to increase their efficiencies and environmental stewardship while improving patient safety and care.

The Partner for Change, with Distinction Award recognizes health care facilities that have achieved improvements in overall sustainability programming in areas such as mercury elimination, waste reduction, energy and natural resource reduction, recycling and source reduction programs — above and beyond the Partner for Change basic criteria. This includes at least 20 percent recycling, generating 10 percent or less regulated medical waste, a more extensive sustainability program, and enhanced programs covering a wider range of areas such as food, energy, water and chemical minimization. The award winner must also show leadership in the local community and in the health care sector.

“Virginia Mason was selected as an award winner ‘with distinction’ because they have demonstrated achievements far beyond the guidelines for the Partner for Change Award,” said Laura Wenger, RN, executive director, Practice Greenhealth. “Virginia Mason is truly demonstrating leadership for the future of health care.”

Virginia Mason’s EnviroMason program is gaining national recognition for its sustainability work, including:

  • First hospital in the Pacific Northwest to recycle and compost food waste and materials used in the hospital cafeteria and patient rooms, completely eliminating garbage cans and Styrofoam use.
  • Reduced kitchen garbage waste by 75 percent and reduced water use by 72 percent.
  • Reduced the volume of landfill waste from the cafeteria by more than five tons annually.
  • A good portion of the food and nutrition purchases are sustainable and use local food products, including local, humanely raised meat and sustainable seafood approved by Seafood Watch.
  • First hospital in the region to implement a recycling program in its operating rooms.
  • The only multi-facility certified health care organization in the Energy Star program.

“We are proud to be cited as a leader in developing and implementing programs that protect our environment and the health of our patients, staff and community,” said Sarah Patterson, executive vice president and COO, Virginia Mason. “The success of our EnviroMason program is directly attributed to our staff. Their dedication to sustainable solutions has made our environment better, allowing us to commit more of our resources toward the direct care of patients.”

The Practice Greenhealth Environmental Excellence Awards were presented in Boston on April 25 at the CleanMed Conference & Exposition, the premier national environmental conference for leaders in health care sustainability.

About Virginia Mason Medical Center
Virginia Mason Medical Center, founded in 1920, is a nonprofit regional health care system in Seattle that serves the Pacific Northwest. Virginia Mason employs more than 5,300 people and includes a 336-bed acute-care hospital; a primary and specialty care group practice of more than 450 physicians; satellite locations throughout the Puget Sound area; and Bailey-Boushay House, the first skilled-nursing and outpatient chronic care management program in the U.S. designed and built specifically to meet the needs of people with HIV/AIDS. Benaroya Research Institute at Virginia Mason is internationally recognized for its breakthrough autoimmune disease research. Virginia Mason was the first health system to apply lean manufacturing principles to health care delivery to eliminate waste and improve quality and patient safety.

To learn more about Virginia Mason Medical Center, please visit or follow @VirginiaMason on Twitter.

About Practice Greenhealth
Practice Greenhealth is the nation’s leading membership and networking organization for institutions in the health care community that have made a commitment to sustainable, eco-friendly practices. For more information on Practice Greenhealth, visit

Media Contact:
Gale Robinette
Virginia Mason Media Relations
(206) 341-1509

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