Today, Senior Advisor to the President for Clean Energy Innovation and Implementation John Podesta, Assistant to the President and Director of the Domestic Policy Council Neera Tanden, Assistant Secretary for Health Admiral Rachel Levine, and other Biden-Harris Administration officials met with health care providers, professional societies and associations, philanthropies, and financial institutions to discuss how health care organizations can best take advantage of the opportunities in the Inflation Reduction Act.
Administration officials noted that since safety-net health organizations serve the populations on the frontlines of climate change-related health threats, they must be able to support patients affected by storms and heat waves and adapt to the changing needs of their communities. Officials emphasized that supporting these organizations is central to the Administration’s ongoing work to advance health equity, increase access to affordable, quality health care, and protect the health and well-being of every American. In a context where safety-net health providers often face resource constraints and are recovering from the stress of the COVID-19 pandemic, the energy efficiency and renewable energy investments made possible by the Inflation Reduction Act can decrease operating costs and free up resources for essential patient services as well as make them more resilient. The Charge Partnership, Valley Children’s Hospital, and the National Academy of Medicine all presented on their efforts to make the sector more resilient.
At the event, the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) announced that its Office of Climate Change and Health Equity (OCCHE) will be leading a catalytic program in early 2024 to help safety-net health care organizations take advantage of the transformative tax credits and grant programs created by the Inflation Reduction Act. The program will also involve safety-net provider member associations like America’s Essential Hospitals, National Rural Health Association, and the National Association of Community Health Centers. The three-month program will feature national webinars as well as breakout sessions for hospitals, health centers, and other provider types to help organizations assess their needs and assets, learn about Inflation Reduction Act tax credits and grant programs, and successfully utilize these opportunities. Interested individuals and organizations can receive information about the program by visiting OCCHE’s website and signing up for the OCCHE Alert email list.
Many participants in today’s convening made new announcements, including:
- Thanks to the Inflation Reduction Act, the CHARGE Partnership set a goal of facilitating or building clean resilient microgrids on 1,000 Community Health Centers across the US in the next 10 years. Approximately 70% of them, or 700 locations, will be in Justice40 and/or low-income communities. These projects will offset at least 75,000 tons of carbon per year, benefit almost two million patients, and save these health centers over $150 million dollars on project costs.
- The Commonwealth Fund announced the release of important new resources to help healthcare organizations to both understand potential savings associated with investments in sustainability and take advantage of the IRA by offering technical assistance on project scoping and application development.
- Macquarie Capital committed to support up to $300 million in renewable energy project developments for hospitals and hospital systems.
- Invest in Our Future highlighted that its $180 million pooled fund is committed to strengthen communities across the country, reduce greenhouse gases and transform our economy including prioritizing grants supporting communities applying for federal funds by funding technical assistance providers and capacity building.
- Advocate Health announced its plan to make the new Wake Forest University School of Medicine in Charlotte, North Carolina net zero – building what they hope will be the first medical school and medical research campus to meet LEED zero-carbon specifications.
The Biden-Harris Administration is committed to partnering with safety-net health care organizations and the broader health sector as they leverage the Inflation Reduction Act to protect the health and well-being of their communities through resilience, protect the environment through sustainability, and save on energy bills through energy efficiency.