At a recent senior-level White House event, Health Care Without Harm and health executives from across the country called for an increased commitment from the health sector to take the significant and measurable actions to mitigate climate change. Partners HealthCare's John Messervy, Director of Capital and Facility Planning, is a member of Health Care Without Harm's Health Care Climate Council.

Moderated by Counselor to the President John Podesta, the meeting signaled the launch of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ Sustainable and Climate Resilient Health Care Facilities Initiative. As part of President Obama’s Climate Action Plan, the Initiative will produce tools and information to help health care facilities prepare for the impacts of climate change and increase their resilience.

As part of the new HHS initiative, the Administration also released a guide for health care providers, design professionals, and policymakers to promote continuity of care before, during, and after extreme weather events.

The guide, "Primary Protection: Enhancing Health Care Resilience for a Changing Climate" is the first tool that brings together case studies from hospitals, nursing homes, and other residential health care facilities that have experienced or sustained damage from extreme weather events, and gathers together their collective responses into a set of emerging best practices.

“Partners HealthCare congratulates the White House on the release of the Health Care Resilience guide,” said John Messervy, AIA, Corporate Director of Design and Construction. “Recognizing that extreme weather events are occurring more frequently and that we must be available to provide for the health needs of our communities during these times, Partners HealthCare committed in 2008 to the development of its first purpose-built resilient health care facility, Spaulding Rehabilitation Hospital. Partners is also at the forefront of addressing a root cause of climate change through its commitment to reduce energy consumption by 25% by 2015. As of October 2014, Partners has reduced consumption by 21% since 2009."

Read the full press release from Health Care Without Harm and from The White House Briefing Room.