As a mission-based organization, Mercy Health has a continued commitment to the health and wellbeing of the patients and communities it serves. That includes a commitment to developing a sustainable culture through environmental stewardships and working with others to protect the environment and communities’ health now and for future generations. 

Through efforts coordinated by a collaborative council of multi-disciplinary stakeholders across our ministry, Bon Secours Mercy Health and Mercy Health – Toledo implemented system-wide sustainable initiatives that earned environmental excellence awards from Practice Greenhealth, a leading sustainability member organization for hospital networks.

Locally, Mercy Health – St. Vincent Medical Center, Mercy Health – St. Anne Hospital and Mercy Health – St. Charles Hospital were recognized with Partner Recognition. Additionally, Mercy Health – Tiffin Hospital, Mercy Health – Willard Hospital and Mercy Health – Defiance Hospital were recognized as Partners for Change. Throughout the ministry, 31 Bon Secours Mercy Health hospitals received either the Partner for Change or Partner Recognition from Practice Greenhealth. 

“We are honored to collaborate with Practice Greenhealth to prioritize and attend to the connection between the health of the environment and human health outcomes,” said Jennifer Discher, vice president, Mercy Health – Toledo Mission. “As a health care ministry, we believe in our ability to heal and the ensuing responsibility to be good stewards of the resources in front of us. Not only are we called upon to address the effects of environmental degradation on the physical, emotional and spiritual wellbeing of our community, but to engage in sustainable practices that leave the earth better for the generations to come.”

Among the initiatives that led to these recognitions include:

  • All the hospitals in the Toledo market including St. Vincent Medical Center, St. Anne Hospital, St. Charles Hospital and Perrysburg Hospital, along with Defiance Hospital, Tiffin Hospital and Willard Hospital, have all become leaders in sustainability. In 2021, the Toledo market put together a sustainability council containing market physicians and leaders, which help lead the market in sustainability efforts. 
  • At Perrysburg Hospital, a weekly forum was established along with a team site for information sharing, which resulted in regular participation as well as many local green team processes. 
  • At St. Anne Hospital, St. Charles Hospital and St. Vincent Medical Center, a partnership was established with Produce Perks to collaborate with grocery stores to serve undeserved areas with discounted fresh fruits and vegetables. 
  • In Defiance, Desflurane was removed from Mercy Health’s acute care formulary. Many different service lines collaborated on this effort including pharmacy, perioperative supply chain and biomedical engineering.

Additionally, Bon Secours Mercy Health won the System for Change Award, which recognizes health systems that are working cohesively to set system-wide sustainability goals, track performance data, benchmark and support intra-organizational learning and implementation within their institutions.

Major health system successes that led to the award include:

  • Achieving system-level recycling at Practice Greenhealth’s median percentage; Bon Secours Mercy Health’s average of 27 percent exceeds Practice Greenhealth’s target with five Bon Secours Mercy Health hospitals performing above the 90th percentile.
  • Bon Secours Mercy Health eliminated the use of desflurane as an anesthetic gas to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, translating to the avoidance of approximately 1,671 metric tons of carbon dioxide being released into the atmosphere. 

“I feel very grateful that so many people across the ministry have helped to demonstrate our commitment to strengthening our connection to our mission through sustainability. Receiving such an abundance of accolades speaks volumes to the environmental stewardship within our culture. It is clear that we are a ministry that diligently cares for our common home,” said Noah Dunlap, vice president of insights and innovation for Bon Secours Mercy Health and Advantus Health Partners, a wholly owned subsidiary of Bon Secours Mercy Health.

These successful initiatives illustrate the commitment Bon Secours Mercy Health has to instilling a sustainable culture in every area of health care.

“In a shifting health care landscape, a focus on sustainability can help build resilience while better protecting the health of patients and the community,” said Practice Greenhouse founder Gary Cohen. “Bon Secours Mercy Health and its hospitals demonstrate the kind of leadership, innovation and performance that can drive the entire health sector toward more environmentally responsible practices."