Major Health Care Buyer Offers Hospitals a New Tool

OAKLAND – Premier Inc., one of the nation's largest
health care suppliers, today launched a comprehensive Web-based
resource to assist healthcare organizations in environmentally
responsible
purchasing and management of computers and electronics. The Center
for Environmental Health, a leader in the national Health Care
Without Harm coalition and the Computer TakeBack Campaign assisted
and supported
the development of the new Premier web site.

"Premier's actions are a clear sign to vendors that
hospitals are demanding safer products and better disposal options," said
CEH Program Manager Mamta Khanna. "With the market shifting
toward environmental responsibility, vendors who have the safest,
most environmentally friendly products will have a strong competitive
advantage."

San Diego-based Premier provides supply chain improvement and
group purchasing, and is owned by 200 of the nation's leading
hospital and health care systems that are affiliated with approximately
1,500 hospital facilities and other health care sites in 50 states.
Premier's new Computers and Electronics in HealthCare web
site presents specific purchasing strategies, including contractual
guidelines for minimal toxicity of materials and vendor programs
for "take-back," leasing and upgrades.

The healthcare industry is responsible for the consumption and
disposal of millions of electronic devices every year. Computers,
televisions, lab analyzers, EKG monitors and other types of equipment
used in hospitals every day contain many hazardous constituents
– from lead in cathode ray tube (CRT) monitors to chlorinated plastics
in cable wiring, brominated flame retardants in circuit boards
and mercury in LCD displays. Hazardous substances in electronics
have been linked to human health effects like cancer, birth defects,
and hormone disruption. When electronic products are incinerated
or landfilled, they can release heavy metals and other hazardous
substances, contaminating groundwater and polluting the air. There
are also concerns around the export of e-waste to developing countries
that are less equipped to handle the hazardous materials.

The challenge for healthcare organizations is to investigate the
materials used in electronics they purchase and stay conscious
of the environmental and health threats posed by toxic components
of e-waste when they must dispose of outdated or used devices. "Premier
recognizes the potential negative impact that computers and electronics
have on the environment and public health," said James Fosmoe,
Director of Premier Group Purchasing's Information Technology
Services. Fosmoe noted, "Premier will be using these guidelines
for the selection of hardware manufacturers that provide computers
and electronics to our members."