A Medical Device Daily

The Healthcare Waste and Emergency Preparedness Coalition CleanMedWaste.org has been formed to raise awareness and provide education about two major problems facing the healthcare system today healthcare facility operational sustainability during a crisis and the proper methods of discarding hazardous medical waste.

The coalition consists of hospitals, waste solutions companies, and others who are committed to ensuring a safe and clean medical waste disposal system that fully considers the challenges of maintaining health facility sustainability during emergencies, transportation breakdowns, and patient surges.

"The readiness of our healthcare facilities should not be taken for granted," said Darrell Henry, executive director of the coalition. "Our healthcare system faces serious tests of preparedness and sustainability, especially in the area of managing hazardous medical waste in the time of crisis."

Current practices of disposal involve removal, transportation, and off-site disposal of waste. However, modern, affordable technologies exist that can cleanly, safely, and economically sterilize infectious and contagious waste on the premises of healthcare facilities, the group said. It said treating hazardous materials on site is cleaner, greener, less costly, and, most importantly, a safer option.

Healthcare facilities are required to be self-sufficient for several days.

Under a wide-spread community problem, the volume of hazardous materials would dramatically increase when a large population suddenly contracted a contagious disease (via pandemic or bioterrorism) or incurred a disaster and surged a hospital's capacity.

Facilities would be inundated for hazardous storage containers, which would put public health and the safety of health providers at risk, and supply management would be stressed. This occurred after 9/11, Hurricane Katrina and more recently Hurricane Gustav.

In other new ventures, VeriChip (Delray Beach, Florida) reported that it has established a new subsidiary, VeriGreen Energy, to focus and invest in the clean and alternative energy sector. The company is currently evaluating several opportunities and is looking to invest in companies with existing operations and infrastructure.

In July 2008, the company completed the sale of its primary operating subsidiary for nearly $48 million. Since then, it has considered opportunities in high-growth markets to diversify beyond its healthcare business. For several months, the company has been examining a variety of opportunities in the energy sector and, in turn, has established this new division.

Following the recently signed stimulus package, which will invest nearly $79 billion in renewable energy, the company said it intends to invest in "clean and alternative sources of energy" to complement its existing healthcare initiatives.

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