Health Industry Outreach
This training offers advice on how to approach health professionals, hospitals, and other health care systems for support of Carbon Fee & Dividend principles and the Energy Innovation & Carbon Dividend Act.
Why outreach to the health industry?
Reaching out to hospitals and health care systems provides an opportunity to highlight the human health impacts of climate change. This is important because health professionals, particularly nurses, are among the most trusted messengers, hospitals are often one of the largest employers in a community, and many are feeling the direct impacts of our changing climate.
The 2019 Lancet Commission has described climate change as the greatest public health threat of this century, as well as the greatest public health opportunity. According to public health leaders writing in the NEJM, it is already adversely affecting human health in the United States, and health care should play a leading role in addressing climate change.
To that end 29 medical societies, including the American Medical Association, are calling for the urgent transition away from fossil fuels. According to recent testimony to Congress, policies which reduce emissions sufficient for global temperature rise to stay less than 2℃ would prevent roughly 4.5 million premature deaths, about 3.5 million hospitalizations and emergency room visits, and approximately 300 million lost workdays in the US over the next 50 years.
As climate change intensifies, public health will be increasingly negatively impacted. Healthcare systems will be challenged to respond to these crisis situations. At the same time, the system must navigate the negative business impact from extreme weather events while trying to maintain their profitability. The U.S. healthcare system is a very complex, highly regulated industry that continues to experience significant changes in an unsettled political environment that makes long-range strategic planning even more difficult and uncertain.
Given the critical nature of health services and the potential financial impact to healthcare organizations, CCL supporters have the opportunity to play an important role in helping engage hospital executives to take political action and lobby for federal legislation to decrease carbon emissions.
Hospitals and healthcare systems are a vital community resource when facing climate disasters. Additionally, over 10% of the U.S. workforce works in the healthcare industry, making hospitals increasingly influential supporters and co-lobbyists.
Getting startedHere’s an outline of the steps you may take as you begin your grasstops outreach to the healthcare industry in your area. Feel free to ask for support along the way from the CCL Health Action Team.
- Read the outreach documents highlighted below. Click on the "Watch" and "Listen" tabs for more information for further details on the health impacts of climate change.
- Customize the outreach documents below with your own local information and impacts.
- Prepare an informational binder that you can leave behind that includes the documents below.
- Assemble your outreach team (try to include at least one health care professional).
- Request an appointment with your health system’s sustainability officer, government/public/community affairs officer, Chief Operating Officer, Chief Medical Officer, or Chief Nursing Officer as the initial contact.
Resources to use for outreach
The following resources are specific for Health Industry Outreach:
- Health Care Organizations' Climate Declaration in support of Carbon Fee & Dividend principles — Business Climate Leaders - ultimate goal is to have your health care system sign this declaration
- For Health professionals: Health Professionals' Climate and Carbon Pricing Declaration — Business Climate Leaders: Signatures from health professionals on staff may influence the hospital system to consider signing the companion document above. Below are some useful tools one can use to reach to health professionals to encourage them to sign the declaration:
- Helpful references:
- Dr. Shindell’s testimony to Congress: Health and Economic Benefits of a 2 degree C Climate Policy
- Columbia Center for Energy Policy: Air quality and emissions reductions for a policy like the EICDA
- Video of Dr. Jeff Thompson, former CEO of Gundersen Healthcare which has become carbon neutral, about how to reach out to a hospital system.
- Modified constituent comment forms designed for health professionals: Health Impact Endorsement Form with Energy Innovation Act (or without Energy Innovation Act reference)
- Health Co-Benefits By State From The Energy Innovation Act
- Customizable: Risks from Climate Change to Your Local Hospital System
- Customizable: Faith-Based Healthcare System Outreach Document
- Customizable: Health Industry Outreach Proposal Statement
- Health-Related Organizations’ Positions on Climate Change
- Call to Action on Climate, Health, & Equity: A Policy Action Agenda
- Risks to Hospitals from Extreme Weather Events
- Business Leaders Support for Carbon Pricing
- What Do Doctors Say? Fossil Fuels & Climate Change
- Detailed Background for Human Health Consequences & Fossil Fuel Costs
- Health Impacts of Climate Change
Other helpful CCL documents you may want to check out:
- Description of CCL
- Description of the Energy Innovation Act
- Description of the Climate Solutions Caucus
- CCL’s Household Impact Study and Carbon Fee & Dividend Calculator
- The REMI Report: The Environmental, Economic and Health Impact of Carbon Fee & Dividend
- Support For The Energy Innovation Act
- Health Care without Harm’s excellent report on Safe Havens in a Storm
What is your ask? How can this declaration be utilized to move your Member of Congress?
The ultimate goal is to have your health care system sign the Health Care Organizations' Climate Declaration in Support for Carbon Fee & Dividend principles. Achieving that goal will be a process, and most likely require developing a relationship through a series of meetings. Other ways to utilize this relationship, once established, to influence your Member of Congress would include:
- Directly endorsing the Energy Innovation & Carbon Dividend Act,
- Including the CEO or other Board member in a meeting with your MOC, possibly an on-site meeting featuring the sustainability efforts made by the hospital system,
- Asking the CEO or other Board member to write an op-ed or LTE.
After your meeting
- Did you deliver a presentation? Submit a field report.
- Are you working toward an endorsement? Track your work in the Grasstops Engagement Tracker.
Congratulations! Share your event with your local group and Health Action Team.
Introductions and Agenda
Why Reach out to Health Professionals & Hospital Systems?
Climate Change: Huge Health Opportunity
- Dr. Robert Byron
- Cynthia Mahoney