NIH Green Committee diverts 23.2 tons from local landfill
They drive past every day — trucks pulling 53-foot hay trailers headed up and down U.S. 395. The next one that passes by, take a long, hard look at the trailer and picture it loaded with recyclables like paper, plastics and bottles. That trailer is equal to the amount of recycling diverted from the local landfill in just three months thanks to Northern Inyo Hospital’s Green Committee.
Established last year by hospital administrator Victoria Alexander-Lane and a group of ecologically-minded employees eager to cut waste, The NIH Green Committee partnered with The Sierra Conservation Project and Preferred Disposal to do as much recycling as possible. None of the committee members knew what that would mean in the long run; they just knew it was the right thing to do.
An exact answer came at the end of June, and the results were huge.
In the first quarter of the effort, April through June of this year, the hospital recycled: 22,680 lbs of mixed paper; 1,210 lbs of plastics; 302 lbs of aluminum; 6,048 lbs of glass, and; an estimated 16,164 lbs of cardboard. The grand total adds up to 46,404 lbs, or roughly 23.2 tons.
That’s right 23.2 tons. It is projected that within a year, NIH will have recycled 92.808 tons of materials.
Environmental Services Manager Richard Miears presented this information to the NIH Board of Directors during its July meeting. Miears, who has a background in trucking, was the person who realized the visual of a hay truck. He estimated that 650 bales of hay at 65 lbs each equaled 42,250 lbs — 4,000 lbs less than what NIH recycled.
“It’s a good start,” Miears said, “but we want to take this from good to great. We have plans in place to explore other areas where we can reduce waste.”
For example, the NIH Green Committee began recycling coffee grounds to the Bishop High School Future Farmers of America’s composting program. The committee is working with NIH’s Maintenance Department to explore the use of LED lighting within the hospital. Miears said if the hospital switched over completely, NIH could save up to $200,000 per year in electrical costs. Not bad, considering the hospital’s current power bill is an estimated $480,000 a year.
“The success of this program rests in small efforts as well as the larger projects,” Miears said. “Every little bit helps. Every project counts.”
So when the NIH Information Technology agreed to be the first department to use recycled paper, the Green Committee was delighted. An even bigger effort is the recycling of blood pressure cuffs and pulse oximeter probes. “If the deal works out with the medically-certified recycling company we are working with, it could save the hospital $15,000 a year, and one year will pay for two-and-a-half years of our local recycling program. If that isn’t a win-win situation, then I don’t know what is,” Miears said.
Miears would especially like to thank the hospital’s Environmental Services and Dietary staffs and all the hospital employees who have participated in the recycling effort. “It’s really a team effort,” he said.
The NIH Green Committee consists of NIH employees Julie Anderson, Greg Bissonette, Andrea Daniels, Layne Durocher, Mark Gavriel, Brandi Jernigan, Karen Taketomo, Lynn Lippincott, Neil Lynch, Richard Miears, Shauna Murray, Devin Riley, Amy Stange and Cheryl Underhill.
State gives green light to NIH patient care improvements
Surveyors from the California Department of Public Health visited Northern Inyo Hospital (NIH) for a licensing survey on July 21-22. The hospital can now provide the following improvements for its patients.
Swing Bed increase
The state granted NIH five additional Swing Beds, bringing its available total to 10. Medicare allows certain small rural hospitals to use its beds as needed, either for acute care or skilled care. This allows physicians to “swing” patients from one level of care to another while staying within the same bed and same facility.
A good example of a Swing Bed stay is when someone undergoes joint replacement surgery. A Swing Bed allows patients to recover in a hospital setting versus a nursing home. In the hospital, patients have easy access to nursing care and rehabilitative services including physical, occupational and speech therapy. The goal of Swing Bed programs is to help patients becoming as independent as possible before discharge.
Swing Beds also allow patients to stay closer to family and friends, reducing stress from possibly being placed outside the community and eliminating high transportation costs. It also provides the patient with continuity of care since they will be working with the same nurses and therapists they had during their surgery or illness.
RHC Exam Rooms added, Women’s Health added
The Rural Health Clinic’s (RHC) Family Practice now has three additional exam rooms. The additional exam rooms are expected to ease patient flow and should reduce patient wait times at the RHC, which experiences about 24,000 patient visits per year.
In addition, women’s health care services are now part of the RHC, housed in the adjacent building connected by a ramp/walkway. These services will include obstetrical care, well women exams and minor gynecological procedures. RHC Family Practice will continue to provide family practice/primary care, preventive care, chronic disease management and acute illness care.
Patients making appointments should call (760) 873-2602 for women’s health or (760) 873-2849 for family practice.
Infusion Center to relocate
The new NIH Infusion Center will now occupy a much larger space within the older main hospital off Pioneer Lane.
What makes the new space unique is that it offers five individual exam rooms, enhancing privacy for patients. NIH nursing staff is working to make the new location a warmer, more welcoming place for patients to undergo treatment. The Infusion Center is expected to begin operations by early Fall.
Infusion Therapy is the intravenous administration of medication and is most often used when oral medications will not work. For many people chemotherapy for the treatment of cancer is the most familiar type of Infusion Therapy. Other types include intravenous antibiotics and therapeutic infusions such as iron replacement and infusions for bone health.
Northern Inyo Hospital is a 25-bed, not-for-profit Critical Access Hospital located in Bishop. Accredited by The Joint Commission, NIH has been providing health care to the Eastern Sierra since 1946.