what does “green” really mean?

WHEN IT COMES TO HEALTHCARE
WHAT DOES “GREEN” REALLY MEAN?

Green Healthcare

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I’ve been intrigued by alternative energy sources long before it was politically correct to do so — particularly the two biggies, wind and solar (fact it folks, ethanol is no more green than the man on the moon).  Although wind and solar power are two forms of energy that are said to be “Green“, so far, the ROI on either is minimal at best — particularly if you want to set them up on your farm (sans government subsidies).   I frequently hear the word ‘green’ thrown around in a manner that could mean just about anything; and when the term is used in relationship to healthcare, I am doubly confused.  What is “Green Healthcare”?  It’s a legitimate question.  So I did what any other inquisitive Americal would do and Googled it.   After getting 520 million hits, I realized that it may be too much for me to sort this one out without Al Gore’s help. 

Although there are legions of companies with various forms of the words “green” and “health” in their names, I’m not sure anyone really agrees on what it really means.  I found an article on San Francisco’s ‘Green Pharmacy‘ program, requiring safe disposal of old or unused meds.   An East Coast hospital had a small “organic garden” on one of its terraces.  One website claimed that since Vermont was seeking to implement a single-payer system for their state-run healthcare, it was “green”, while another (treehugger dot com) talked about the fact that since 99% of our nation’s hospital facilitates are not green, rebuilding or refurbishing them could literally, “save billions of dollars“.  Not sure if this is true or not true, when you consider how long the payback would take if implemented.  The government is even in on the act with several articles by the EPA and others on what it takes to go green.

When I think of green, I tend to think more along the lines of sustainability.  This begs the question: Is our nation’s current healthcare system SUSTAINABLE, and if not, are the ‘fixes’ going to make it better?  Are you joking me?  Rather than me trying to answer that for you, I would challenge you to sit down and ask a doctor or other healthcare provider this question.  If you know very many doctors, you’ll know how overwhelmed they are by bureaucracy, red tape, and paperwork — quantum amounts of paperwork (HERE IS A RECENT STUDY ON THE TOPIC).  And with ICD-10 and the implementation of the ACA, it’s about to get worse — much worse.  Recent polls have indicated that if retirement were an option, over fifty percent of America’s practicing physicians would take it in a New York minute.  Sound sustainable to you?  Throw in our country’s infatuation with EVIDENCE-BASED MEDICINE and you have a classic recipe for failure.

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