(HARTFORD, Conn.) – Saint Francis Hospital and Medical Center has received a 2007 Partners for Change Award from Hospitals for a Healthy Environment (H2E). The award recognizes the Hospital’s achievements in improving environmental performance.

Saint Francis also received the Making Medicine Mercury-Free Award from H2E. Jointly founded by the American Hospital Association, the Environmental Protection Agency, Health Care Without Harm and the American Nurses Association, H2E is an independent not-for-profit organization focused on improving healthcare environmental performance.

“By reducing its environmental impact, Saint Francis is playing a pioneering role in healthcare’s shift toward protecting public health,” said Laura Brannen, Executive Director of H2E.

The H2E Partners for Change Award recognizes facilities that continuously improve and expand upon their mercury elimination, waste reduction and pollution prevention programs. At a minimum, facilities receiving this award recycle at least 10 percent of their solid waste, have established mercury elimination programs and have developed other successful programs to reduce their operations’ impact on the environment.

Between 2001 and 2006, Saint Francis doubled its recycling/reuse rate from 10 percent to 20 percent. Over the last seven years, the Hospital has also reduced by

7 percent the volume of solid and medical waste that it generates.

The Making Medicine Mercury-Free Award is a one-time award given to facilities that have met the challenge of becoming virtually mercury-free.

Saint Francis eliminated all mercury-based medical devices, such as thermometers and blood pressure gauges, more than 10 years ago and maintains policies to ensure that new products purchased are mercury free.

“These awards are testament to our long-standing commitment to making Saint Francis environmentally friendly,” said Robert Falaguerra, Vice President, Facilities, Support Services and Construction. “We look forward to intensifying our efforts in the years ahead.”

Founded in 1897, Saint Francis is a major teaching hospital licensed for 617 acute inpatient beds and 65 bassinets and is the largest Catholic hospital in New England.