Monday, July 15, 2024

Inflation Reduction Act: HHS Releases Initial Case Studies on Health Sector Climate Investments

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Inflation Reduction Act (IRA) initiatives are highlighted in two insightful case studies released by the HHS Office of Climate Change and Health Equity (OCCHE), demonstrating how nonprofit safety net health care providers are leveraging the IRA to reduce carbon emissions and promote health equity. These studies feature Boston Medical Center and OhioHealth, showcasing their innovative approaches to utilizing IRA funding to meet their core missions while addressing climate-related health impacts.

The first case study focuses on Boston Medical Center’s pioneering Clean Power Prescription program, which provides solar energy credits to patients. This initiative not only helps reduce carbon emissions but also supports the hospital’s commitment to sustainability and patient well-being. By offering solar energy credits, Boston Medical Center aims to alleviate energy costs for patients, contributing to their financial stability and overall health.

Inflation Reduction Act: OhioHealth Uses IRA Tax Incentives to Install EV Charging Stations

The second case study highlights OhioHealth’s strategic use of IRA tax incentives to install electric vehicle (EV) charging stations in a rural area. These stations provide free charging to residents, promoting the adoption of EVs and reducing transportation-related emissions. OhioHealth’s initiative demonstrates how health care providers can extend their impact beyond traditional health services by contributing to broader environmental and community health goals.

These case studies are part of OCCHE’s broader Catalytic Program on Utilizing the IRA, an initiative designed to connect safety net health care providers with the extensive funding opportunities available through the IRA. The program aims to help providers invest in energy efficiency, sustainability, and environmental justice, ensuring they remain operational during emergencies and reduce their pollution levels.

The case studies not only highlight successful projects but also provide a roadmap for other health care providers. They offer practical advice on planning and implementing projects using IRA funding, including insights into pitching these initiatives to organizational leadership. Both Boston Medical Center and OhioHealth share key lessons learned from their experiences, making these case studies valuable resources for other organizations considering similar projects.


Inflation Reduction Act: OCCHE’s Catalytic Program Offers Educational Resources to Help Health Care Providers Navigate IRA Funding

In addition to the case studies, OCCHE’s Catalytic Program features an array of educational resources. These include over two dozen hours of free, rewatchable webinars featuring experts from the federal government and health sector, as well as a Quickfinder tool summarizing key IRA programs and policies. These resources are designed to help health care providers navigate the complexities of IRA funding and maximize their impact on climate and health equity.

ADM Rachel L. Levine, MD, Assistant Secretary for Health, emphasized the dual benefits of the IRA for health care providers: “Boston Medical Center and OhioHealth are showing their peers the power of the Inflation Reduction Act to save hospitals money and reduce environmental health burdens at the same time.

The law offers unprecedented opportunities for health care providers and other nonprofits to make long-term investments that reduce their climate impact and protect public health. OCCHE’s work to educate safety net health care providers is vital to meeting our overall climate goals, and I look forward to seeing many more success stories in the months and years ahead.”

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John M. Balbus, MD, MPH, Deputy Assistant Secretary for Climate Change and Health Equity, highlighted the significant role of the health sector in addressing climate change: “The IRA is the most significant climate legislation in our country’s history, but it didn’t come with a roadmap telling the health sector where to plug in. The health sector offers crucial support for frontline communities and also contributes about 8.5 percent of US carbon emissions, which is why it needs to reduce its own impacts as much as possible. The Catalytic Program is crucial to promoting health equity and a green energy economy, and I hope more health care providers take advantage of these opportunities.”

The publication of these case studies by the HHS Office of Climate Change and Health Equity marks a significant step in demonstrating the practical applications of the Inflation Reduction Act within the health sector. By highlighting the successes of Boston Medical Center and OhioHealth, OCCHE provides a template for other health care providers to follow, encouraging them to leverage IRA funding to reduce their environmental impact and advance health equity. As the Catalytic Program continues to roll out new case studies and educational resources, it is expected to drive significant progress in the health sector’s contribution to a sustainable and equitable future.


Resource: Health and Human Services, June 25, 2024

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