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Medical Tourism Association Recognizes Some of it's Green Members

Destination Spotlight

Sustainability in healthcare is a trend that has taken off. The Medical Tourism Association is made up of the top international hospitals, healthcare providers, medical travel facilitators, insurance companies, and other companies and members who collectively share the goal of promoting the utmost quality of healthcare to patients on a global scale.

We asked our members, what are they doing to promote a new quality of care; one that affects their environment and the environment of their patients or colleagues. The response speaks for itself. The MTA recognizes some of its “green” members.

Our hospital members are perhaps the most active in this trend. There seems to be a common thread that links them all together; the belief that practicing sustainability has an effect on patient satisfaction and quality of care.


Clinica Biblica Hospital ~ Service in Harmony with Nature

Clinica Biblica Hospital has aligned its mission, vision, and environmental policy, so that their hospital activities are carried out in an ecologically-conscious manner. This process began in 2001 when the Environmental Health & Safety Department was created, enabling the development of environmentally responsible waste management processes.

“At Clinica Biblica Hospital, we are convinced that medical care must be provided in true harmony with nature ensuring an adequate balance between resource consumption and treatment or disposal of hospital activity-related waste,” says Andrés Alvarado, Environmental Health & Safety Coordinator. “This is something that is being communicated to hospital employees, as well as its patients, visitors and the surrounding community”

In 2003, the Hospital began treatment of bio-infectious waste using Rotoclave® technology which uses a pressure vessel and rotating internal drum that accepts unsorted wastes and subjects them to agitation, heat and moisture. This method is beneficial because no chemical components are used; therefore no harmful emissions are released into the environment.

Other sustainable initiatives that are implemented at Clinicia Biblica include:

  • Use of energy-efficient lighting technology
  • Use of compostable containers in the Hospital cafeteria
  • Hospital and community recycling program
  • Use of water-saving toilettes
  • Responsible waste management program (mercury, cytotoxic waste, among others)
  • CO2 emissions mitigation program (tree planting in different areas of the country)
  • International quality and environmental certification (Joint Commission International accredited Hospital)

USP Institut Universitari Dexeus has been a significant player in the health map of Barcelona since it was established in 1973. USP Dexeus has been working diligently to complete the ISO 14001 Environmental Management Accreditation, implemented by AENOR, an organization dedicated to the development of standardization and certification in all industrial and service sectors.

“USP Institut Universitari Dexeus considers its patients and customers to be the center of attention and focus for all its healthcare-related activities and we have made a commitment to offer a service based on the constant improvement of all our processes in order to continue offering a quality service whilst upholding our respect for the environment,” says Margarita Grande, Director of Quality and Sustainability at USP Instituto Universitario Dexeus, “With that in mind and given that our Quality Management System has already been certified according to ISO 9001:2008 regulations since 2004, it was our wish to integrate environmental regulations into this management process.”

Upon receiving Environmental Accreditation, it will provide USP an opportunity to position itself as socially responsible, setting itself apart from competition in a positive way. Other benefits include avoiding and preventing pollution, assurance of compliance with legal requirements regarding the environment that affect the undertaking of their activity and fostering the greatest possible reduction to the environment. USP has already implemented waste management control, natural waste consumption control and waste separation at source.

From energy conservation to employee education, Baptist Health South Florida believes in being an environmentally responsible healthcare organization. The organization, headquartered in Coral Gables, Florida, has a number of “green” practices and programs in place, and Baptist Health has been awarded numerous honors for its efforts.

Baptist Health was recognized with the “Sustainable South Florida for Green Business Practices” from the Greater Miami Chamber of Commerce and received a Partner Recognition Award for Environmental Excellence from Practice Greenhealth.  Baptist Health currently focuses on six areas of sustainability improvement across the organization, with example initiatives for each listed below.

  1. Energy: Turning off computer monitors after 30 minutes of inactivity; shutting down kitchen hoods when not in use; and exploring lighting techniques to cut energy costs.
  2. Waste Management/ Recycling: Currently training 13,000+ employees on the importance of this topic, and recycling over 70 tons of solid waste materials per month.
  3. Product Procurement: First hospitals in Florida to sign the Healthy Food in Healthcare pledge and working with partners on sustainable dining services options.
  4. Construction: Implemented Sustainable Construction Policy and in process of completing 5 LEED (Green Building) projects, including the new West Kendall Baptist Hospital to open in April 2011.
  5. Information Technology: Moving towards paper “light” and eventually paper less processes; implemented an online system for HR employment applications, which has cut paper waste from thousands of applications per month.
  6. Communications& Education: Conduct creative ‘Earth Day’ events that engage employees in ongoing sustainability efforts; events were covered by local media and help share sustainability message with greater community.

According to Eric Wenke, assistant vice president for corporate development at Baptist Health, the organization’s  Green Team theme for the upcoming year is “Success Equals More of Less”, which will include  launching more projects for less energy, less water, less pollution, and more savings and improved health.

Mr. Wenke also says that implementing green practices and sustainability initiatives will increase both employee and patient satisfaction. He anticipates that both domestic and international patients will see sustainable healthcare as a “differentiator in terms of health services.”

Medical Tourism Facilitators

World Wide Medical Partners is a medical facilitator company that delivers innovative cost-control solutions so that patients may have access to the highest quality of healthcare anywhere in the world. Dr. Wes Gitchev says he believes hospitals and healthcare facilities who are implementing green practices will see an increase in patients desiring to travel to them for care.

“I would rather work with hospitals that are conscious of their costs and their environment. These hospitals are forward thinkers.” World Wide Medical Partners is doing their part to reduce their impact on the environment, creating a policy that states employees may not print anything non-essential. They are about 70% paperless and hope to be completely paperless soon. Advertising is done online, through radio and television, as it is more cost effective and eco-friendly than in print.

Medtral manages the entire process of medical travelers to New Zealand who are seeking personalized surgical and recuperative aftercare in a first world, English speaking county. As a whole, New Zealand strives to maintain its clean green image and has strict regulations on pollution and environmental sustainability, aiming to be the first carbon neutral nation.

The focus on the clean, green environment of New Zealand is in alignment with Tourism New Zealand’s 100% pure New Zealand campaign. Medtral partners with organizations that are also socially responsible and implementing environmental sustainability including airlines, travel partners and hotels.

Corporate Members

Michael Brown Communications Firm is a full-service Perception Management firm offering end-to-end marketing, PR, design and communications services and now taking on the healthcare sector. Michael Brown Firm works with start-up businesses and investors all over the world who are interested in implementing medical tourism. Currently, they are working with a client in the Caribbean who is “building green” from the ground up.

This eco-friendly resort is integrating with medical tourism and taking steps to reduce their carbon footprint. Some of the practices include use of window lighting, rain water retention for gardening and using locally-grown food for construction workers, cutting on transportation and fuel.

Squire Sanders provides legal assistance and advice to members of the Medical Tourism Association. Currently, two of their offices are LEED-certified: Columbus, Ohio and Phoenix, Arizona.  Scott Edelstein’s firm has become increasingly aware of their sense of duty to the environment and is looking to expand LEED-certification in their other offices

Medical Tourism Association is proud to represent our members and those who have taken initiative deserved to be recognized for their efforts.

About the Author

Chelsea D’Ariano is the Global Communications Coordinator for the Medical Tourism Association and is involved in managing the Public Relations and Marketing Department of the MTA. Chelsea is also a Contributing Editor for both Medical Tourism Magazine and Health Tourism Magazine. She can be contacted at

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