Feds launch “catalytic program” to build sustainability in the health care sector

March 14, 2024
Area(s) of Interest: Public Health 

The U.S. Office of Climate Change and Health Equity (OCCHE) recently launched what it is calling a “catalytic program” to help health care providers and industry stakeholders leverage the tax credits, grants and other opportunities created by the 2022 Inflation Reduction Act to build sustainability in the health care sector.

More than 200 international health journals joined together to announce climate change as the most significant threat to global public human health in the 21st century, a message that resonates with many California physicians.  The California Medical Association (CMA) House of Delegates (HOD) prioritized discussion of climate change at the 2023 HOD by making it a major issue for consideration. A primary theme of the HOD Major Issue report on climate change was looking at what role physicians and their practices can play in addressing climate change.

According to OCCHE, health sector organizations can actively reduce the potential for harm by anticipating challenges, investing in resilient infrastructure, and reducing contributions to climate change through improvements in sustainability and efficiency.

The Inflation Reduction Act

The Inflation Reduction Act, allocated almost $400 billion toward efforts to increase green energy and reduce carbon emissions. Many of these funds can be accessed by the health care sector.

The bill included funds to:

  • Upgrade, repurpose or replace energy infrastructure;
  • Provide incentives for investment (largely through tax credits) in clean energy, transportation, and manufacturing; and
  • Incentivize consumers to lower emissions by making products with lower carbon footprints more affordable.

OCCHA Catalytic Program

In early 2024, OCCHE launched what it’s calling a “catalytic program” to help health care providers and especially safety net organizations take advantage of the tax credits, grants and other supports made available by the Inflation Reduction Act. In addition to a more general webinar series, there are also breakout groups focused on the act’s applicability for essential hospitals, health centers and rural providers.

The national webinars highlight IRA programs that provide:

  • Tax incentives and direct pay provisions for clean energy investments,
  • Grants and incentives for lowering emissions, and
  • Grants and incentives for building climate resilience.

These funding supports can be leveraged to invest in on-site renewable energy generation, energy efficiency building improvements, community resilience, and more.  

The catalytic program webinar series began January 25, 2024, and runs through April 11. Recordings for all the main webinars and the breakouts are available for on-demand viewing. Learn more about this new series by watching the recorded information session and and sign up for sessions here.

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