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Premier Launches Web-Based Resource for Environmentally Friendly Management and Disposal of Hospitals’ Computers and Electronics


WEBWIRE

CHARLOTTE, NC -- Feb. 21, 2005 -- Premier, Inc. has launched a comprehensive Web-based resource to assist healthcare organizations in the environmentally friendly selection, recycling and disposal of computers and electronics.

The healthcare industry is responsible for the consumption and disposal of millions of electronic devices every year. The challenge for healthcare organizations is to dispose of outdated or used devices while staying conscious of the environmental and health threats posed by toxic components of information technology waste.

Premier’s new Computers and Electronics in HealthCare Website presents a number of specific purchasing strategies, including contractual guidelines for minimal toxicity of materials, as well as vendor programs for “take-back,” leasing and upgrades.

“Premier recognizes the potential negative impact that computers and electronics have on the environment and public health,” said James Fosmoe, Director of Premier Group Purchasing’s Information Technology Services. Fosmoe noted, “Premier will be using these guidelines for the selection of hardware manufacturers that provide computers and electronics to our members.”

The web-based resource was produced by Premier’s Safety Institute with assistance and support from Health Care Without Harm and the Computer Take Back Campaign.

Charlotte Brody, Purchasing Workgroup Coordinator for Health Care Without Harm, called the resource a natural extension of healthcare’s purpose. “By adopting these purchasing guidelines, Premier is helping hospitals to fulfill their mission - protecting public health,” Brody said. “Providing these resources is part of the ongoing effort to make it easier for health care to do the right thing.”

Mamta Khanna of the Center for Environmental Health added that the creation of such guidelines signals a positive trend. “Premier’s actions are a clear sign to vendors that hospitals are demanding safer products and better disposal options,” Khanna, said. “With the market shifting toward environmental responsibility, vendors who have the safest, most environmentally friendly products will have a strong competitive advantage.”

Sheila Davis of the Computer Take Back Campaign agreed. “This is an important step in making the way health care is provided consistent with the principle ’first, do no harm,’” David said. “Eliminating the dumping of toxic electronics is simply a matter of good public health policy.”

Hazardous components

Computers, televisions, lab analyzers, EKG monitors, and other types of biomedical electronic equipment may contain hazardous materials. Of particular concern are heavy metals such as lead (used in cathode ray tube (CRT) monitors and lead solder), mercury (used in the lights behind liquid crystal displays (LCD)), and cadmium (used in batteries, resistors, CRTs, and plastic components), as well as chlorinated plastics (PVC) used in cable wiring, and brominated flame retardants (used in plastic computer housing and circuit boards). Currently about 40 percent of the heavy metals in landfills, including lead, mercury and cadmium, come from electronic equipment discards.

Putting it into practice at Premier

Premier does more than just advise hospitals on the selection and disposal of technology, however. The company puts the same procedures in place for its own equipment.

“Premier’s outdated electronics from its corporate offices - monitors, laptop and desktop computers, printers, cell phones - are either resold or donated to non-profit charitable groups such as such as the Community Youth Development Institute in Chicago, or the San Diego Futures Foundation,” said Brian Griffin, Manager, Corporate Information Technology Services.

Where to donate

To find a source to donate old computers and electronics, Premier has provided a link on its Web site to a National Recycling Coalition-sponsored database of recyclers, reuse organizations, and municipal programs that accept discarded electronic equipment.

The Web site, www.premierinc.com/safety, also includes a wide range of other resources on computers and electronics. For example:

-- A downloadable ten-step guide from Hospitals for a Healthy Environment that provides step-by-step information on managing electronic products, keeping health, safety and compliance as priorities.

-- Environmentally Preferable Procurement Guidelines for Information Technology (IT) Equipment in Health Care, prepared by the Computer Take Back Campaign and Health Care Without Harm.

About Premier

Premier, Inc. is a strategic alliance in U.S. healthcare, entirely owned by 200 of the nation’s leading hospital and health care systems. These systems operate or are affiliated with approximately 1,500 hospital facilities in 50 states and hundreds of other care sites. Premier provides an array of resources supporting health services delivery in the key areas of supply chain improvement and group purchasing, comparative data and benchmarking, and insurance. Premier adopted its EPP program in 2000 and was the first Group Purchasing Organization to win the H2E Champions for Change award. Premier won the H2E award again in 2004. Premier is headquartered in San Diego, Calif., with offices in Chicago and Charlotte, N.C. Advocacy and policy offices are located in Washington, D.C. For more information, visit www.premierinc.com.

The Premier Safety Institute provides free resources, tools and news on patient, worker and environmental safety on its Web site at www.premierinc.com/safety.

About Health Care Without Harm

Health Care Without Harm is an international coalition of 437 organizations in 52 countries working to transform the health care industry so it is no longer a source of harm to people and the environment. Health Care Without Harm’s broad-based coalition consists of hospitals and health care systems, medical professionals, community groups, health-affected constituencies, labor unions, environmental and environmental health organizations, and religious groups.

Health Care Without Harm co-sponsors the Hospitals for a Healthy Environment (H2E) program that assists healthcare facilities in their pollution prevention efforts by providing web-based resources, free teleconferences, a peer listserv, annual awards and other tools. For more information, visit www.noharm.org and www.h2e-online.org, or contact Kelly Heekin, Health Care Without Harm Communications Coordinator, at Kheekin@hcwh.org or 510-848-5343.

About the Computer Take Back Campaign

The goal of the Computer Take Back Campaign is to protect the health and well being of electronics users, workers and the communities where electronics are produced and discarded by requiring consumer electronics manufacturers and brand owners to take full responsibility for the life cycle of their products, through effective public policy requirements and enforceable agreements. Visit www.computertakeback.com for more information or contact Sheila Davis, Clean Computer Campaign Director, at sdavis@svtc.org.



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