Dear state and federal policymakers:
We the undersigned health care institutions take our role seriously as health care providers with a mission to do no harm and protect our patients’ health. We believe that addressing the environmental and social impacts of health care’s operations is part of our moral imperative. Health care is on the front lines of climate change, bearing both the financial costs and the human health burden from the spread of increased disease and more frequent extreme weather and wildfire events. We simultaneously face the challenges of emerging from a global pandemic and the growing financial and health impacts from the climate crisis.
We acknowledge and are deeply concerned about the countless ways that climate change impacts public health – from the devastating physical and mental health impacts of floods and wildfires to the respiratory health impacts of increased air pollution. Every day we learn more about the ways in which climate change wreaks havoc on individual and community health. Each of our health systems is experiencing climate impacts firsthand, challenging our ability to deliver care and harming the health and livelihoods of our patients and communities, especially the most under-resourced.
Bottom line: Climate change poses a material financial and public health risk to the entire health care sector.
Just as we address other risks to our complex operations, we will make long-term, climate-smart investments that limit our exposure to climate risk. We will increase our deployment of renewable energy, invest in energy efficiency measures, and ensure that our buildings and facilities are resilient.
These measures will allow us to address the multi-faceted nature of climate risk while yielding immediate benefits and cost savings in the short and long term. Growing evidence indicates that these efforts yield significant and wide-ranging cost savings, reduced risk and increased stability for organizations and the communities they serve, and improved corporate performance.
We, therefore, remain committed to considering environmental, social, and governance (ESG) factors in our enterprise risk management and scenario planning.
We whole-heartedly support policy and regulatory action consistent with the Paris Agreement that will continue to foster a robust U.S. health care system by reducing operational and financial risk in the provision of health care services while ensuring a sustainable and healthy future for all.
We appreciate your efforts to address climate change and to maintain U.S. leadership on a global scale.
Boston Medical Center
Hackensack Meridian Health