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Kaiser Permanente Wins Clean Air Award for Environmental Leadership Efforts

Saturday, April 17, 2010 Press Release J E 4
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Organization's Commitment to Creating Healthier Communities Honored

OAKLAND, Calif., April 16 /PRNewswire/ -- Breathe California has recognized Kaiser Permanente for its efforts to reduce global warming and air pollution. Kaiser Permanente was named as the Clean Air Award recipient in the leadership category at Breathe California's 20th annual ceremony today in San Francisco.  

The award, which honors organizations that are implementing initiatives to reduce global warming and air pollution, reflects Kaiser Permanente's long-standing commitment to protect and create healthy environments.

"Kaiser Permanente recognizes the health of the environment directly affects individual health. We are constantly working to reduce our collective impact on the environment and improve the health of the communities we serve," said Raymond J. Baxter, Ph.D., senior vice president, Community Benefit, Research and Health Policy.

As a global leader in sustainability, Kaiser Permanente has taken an innovative approach to the climate change challenge. Kaiser Permanente's Sustainable Energy Strategy seeks to reduce energy demand, increase the use of renewable energy sources, and limit air pollutants and greenhouse gas emissions that affect the health of its members and the community. In 2009, the energy strategy featured an initial investment of $2.4 million in energy efficiency projects such as window film installations and new lights. These improvements are expected to result in annual energy cost savings of more than $1.2 million.  Additionally, Kaiser Permanente recently announced the organization has agreed to deploy 15 megawatts of solar power in a deal that will put solar power systems at 15 facilities in California by the summer of 2011.

Community Health Initiatives in 40 communities across the country focus on Healthy Eating Active Living to address the root causes of obesity and related chronic diseases. In 2008, this involved grants to 1,181 organizations. Among other efforts, these initiatives build parks and bike paths to promote physical activity in communities to improve individual health while reducing air pollution and greenhouse gases.

"Community-based innovative efforts like Kaiser Permanente's give me great hope for cleaner air and reduced greenhouse gases in the near future," said Linda Civitello, president and chief executive officer of Breathe California, Golden Gate Public Health Partnership.  

Kaiser Permanente's commitment to environmental and community health is rooted in its fundamental focus on prevention. Kaiser Permanente believes that by reducing greenhouse gas emissions it can prevent the spread of infectious disease, and that its efforts to reduce the use of toxic chemicals result in decreased air emissions of these substances and help prevent illnesses such as cancer, asthma and Parkinson's disease.

Climate change and poor air quality both increase threats to human health; those impacts are particularly significant in lower income populations. In 2009 Kaiser Permanente invested $1.7 billion to help the most vulnerable people in its communities gain access to its services and expertise and to help make total health a reality for everyone.

As one of the nation's leading health care providers, Kaiser Permanente collaborates with other health care and non-governmental organizations to improve the environmental performance of the entire health sector.

For more information about Kaiser Permanente's commitment to the environment, go to www.kp.org/green.

About Kaiser Permanente

Kaiser Permanente is committed to helping shape the future of health care. We are recognized as one of America's leading health care providers and not-for-profit health plans. Founded in 1945, our mission is to provide high-quality, affordable health care services and to improve the health of our members and the communities we serve. We currently serve 8.6 million members in nine states and the District of Columbia. Care for members and patients is focused on their total health and guided by their personal physicians, specialists and team of caregivers. Our expert and caring medical teams are empowered and supported by industry-leading technology advances and tools for health promotion, disease prevention, state-of-the art care delivery and world-class chronic disease management. Kaiser Permanente is dedicated to care innovations, clinical research, health education and the support of community health. For more information, go to: www.kp.org/newscenter.

SOURCE Kaiser Permanente

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