by Sean Ruck
, Contributing Editor | July 21, 2020
From the July 2020 issue of HealthCare Business News magazine
HCB News: I initially reached out because I saw Lincoln Memorial had been recognized by Practice Greenhealth with the Environmental Excellence Award. Can you talk about some of the things you’ve done to get there?
We’re pretty proud of that award. We’ve been on that journey for several years. We first became aware of Practice Greenhealth through their Healthier Hospitals Initiative. At the time, we were assessing the overall health of our community, and some of the initiatives in their
program aligned with what we were seeing in our community and what we thought we had to do to lead our community to a healthier state. At the same time, we were interested in environmental stewardship and making sure we were using resources wisely. What we lacked and what Practice Greenhealth gave us was the framework to put it all together.
Some of the things were low-hanging fruit, such as instituting a recycling program, but our efforts moved all the way to most recently, when we conducted a Lean Six Sigma Greenbelt project inside the OR to try and reduce waste. Other things included changing our menu to healthier food, adding flavored water as an option — and we saw soda consumption drop by about 30 percent. At the same time, what we saw in the community was significant health challenges, and we realized our mission in the community, which is to improve health, needs to transcend our walls. So we formed a community health collaborative to look at some of those community issues and think of ways to address them through partnerships with other agencies.
HCB News: Are there any big initiatives or developments in the works?
Through this community health collaborative, we’ve done a number of things. The framework around that collaborative is based around the CDC’s guidelines for improving health. Over the last few years, we’ve done some things to drive health improvement outside the walls of the hospital. For example, we created and operationalized an indoor producer-only farmer’s market to get fresh fruit and produce into the local food system stream. We partnered with the fairgrounds, which is right across from the hospital, on that.
We partnered with the city of Lincoln and installed the first National Fitness Campaign fitness court in the state of Illinois on the grounds where the old hospital used to sit. We built our new hospital and opened it in 2011. The old hospital was razed and that land was turned over to the community, and we worked together on the fitness court that’s free to use. We constructed a one mile walking trail on our campus as well.