GOVERNOR HOCHUL LAUNCHES FIRST-IN-THE-NATION CLIMATE ACTION PILOT PROGRAM TO HELP NEW YORK HOSPITALS ACHIEVE NET-ZERO CARBON EMISSIONS BY 2050

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Under Voluntary Pilot Program, NYSIF-Insured Hospitals Who Pledge to Reduce Their Carbon Emissions and Improve Resiliency Will Receive Premium Credits Up to $1 Million to Plan and Implement Climate Action Plans

New York, NY, May 09, 2024 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) — Governor Kathy Hochul today launched a first-in-the-nation, voluntary climate action pilot program for hospitals, focused on improving worker health and safety while addressing the harmful impacts of climate change on the environment. The program provides premium credits of up to $1 million to New York State Insurance Fund-insured hospitals that pledge to achieve net zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2050 and enhance their resilience to extreme weather events, helping mitigate the climate-related hazards that contribute to steep increases in workplace injuries and illnesses. The pilot builds on Governor Hochul’s commitment to building a greener, more sustainable future for New Yorkers, as well as recent investments secured in the FY 2025 Enacted Budget to advance the Governor’s climate agenda.

“New York is taking action to maintain our status as a global leader in the fight against climate change,” Governor Hochul said. “This pilot program will incentivize hospitals to reduce their environmental impact and create a safer and healthier New York. From leveraging our insurance policies to transformative investments in this year’s budget, we are using every tool at our disposal to build a greener, more sustainable future for all New Yorkers.”

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NYSIF Executive Director and CEO Gaurav Vasisht said, “The health care sector is at the frontlines of the global climate crisis, confronting its public health impacts and system disruptions while contributing significantly to greenhouse gas emissions. With 2023 the hottest year on record, and as extreme heat contributes to a growing number of worker injuries and illnesses, NYSIF is uniquely positioned to catalyze transformative climate action, offering incentives that improve worker safety while freeing up resources for hospitals to accomplish their goals.”

The U.S. health care industry is the leading emitter of GHGs, accounting for 8.5 percent of all national emissions and approximately a quarter of health care emissions globally. Hospitals are the most significant GHG contributors within health care, with most of their emissions produced indirectly in the supply chain, such as through purchased energy, anesthetics, pharmaceuticals, food and single-use plastic medical and surgical supplies.

The pilot provides NYSIF’s hospital policyholders an upfront credit of 5 percent on their workers’ compensation premium, up to $1 million per policy, when they pledge to develop a climate action plan to monitor, report, and reduce their greenhouse gas emissions and enhance their resilience to climate-related disruptions. The upfront credit will free up crucial funds immediately for hospitals to develop their action plans, laying the foundation for their future emissions reduction and resilience strategies. An ongoing premium credit of 5 percent, up to $1 million per policy, will be available to hospitals each year they progress toward their planned milestones. Over time, hospitals may channel the ongoing credit – and any savings from reduced emissions – into direct patient care and further enhancing their resilience to climate-related disruptions.

Governor Hochul also announced the release of Insurance as a Catalyst for Climate Action, NYSIF’s groundbreaking report detailing the need to reduce hospital GHG emissions and analyzing NYSIF’s claims data to explore the relationship between extreme temperature and worker safety. Consistent with leading academic research, the analysis, which encompassed approximately 95,000 claims, found a higher correlation in the frequency and severity of workplace injuries and illnesses on extreme heat days. The data showed that when the heat index is over 80°F injuries resulting in claims were 45 percent more likely to arise and 20 percent more severe. NYSIF intends to study its data further to better understand these correlations.

To receive the premium credits, hospital climate action plans must identify long-term strategies to reduce both direct and indirect emissions, including those produced in the supply chain for anesthetics, pharmaceuticals, food, and single-use plastics and medical supplies. The plans must also detail supply chain vulnerabilities and contingencies and outline the hospital’s procurement approach to encouraging hospital suppliers and vendors to account for and report their own emissions information over time. Plans must also incorporate safeguards to ensure positive impacts to employees and the hospital’s surrounding community.

Beyond the premium credits, the pilot also offers access to NYSIF’s risk control services, including consultation, resources, and training, focused on strategies to confront climate-related challenges. The services will help participating hospitals, particularly smaller and rural hospitals, implement strategies to mitigate climate hazards and promote worker well-being. NYSIF will also create a forum for hospitals to learn from each other’s experiences as they carry out efforts to reduce emissions and seek to become more resilient.

The initiative will apply to NYSIF’s current and prospective workers’ compensation policyholders, with premium credits available for the duration of a hospital’s demonstrated commitment to work towards the goal of achieving net zero GHG emissions by 2050. The pilot has the potential to generate hundreds of millions in cumulative premium credits and cost savings for participating hospitals, which they may invest to further strengthen patient care and health outcomes.

NYSERDA President and CEO Doreen M. Harris said, “New York’s clean energy transition is helping strengthen the resiliency of buildings across New York State – including hospitals – to withstand the impacts of our changing climate. This new NYSIF initiative will incentivize hospitals to take control of their energy use, adopt clean and efficient technologies, and reduce their carbon footprint in support of a zero-emission future.”

New York State Department of Environmental Conservation Interim Commissioner Sean Mahar said, “The New York State Insurance Fund’s new premium credit program for hospitals is an innovative and meaningful approach to reducing greenhouse gas emissions across all sectors of the economy, which is central to the State’s continued progress in meeting our climate goals. Providing hospitals with this incentive will have a positive ripple effect throughout the economy as suppliers are engaged in the pursuit of decarbonization while also helping hospitals statewide recognize the benefits of increased resilience to severe storms and extreme weather.”

State Health Commissioner Dr. James McDonald said, “The climate has changed, even in our lifetime, this is apparent. We will continue to identify and leverage innovative solutions to counter the negative impacts of climate change on public and personal health. Rising temperatures caused by greenhouse gas emissions pose significant health threats, contributing to increasing rates of heat stroke, wildfires that negatively affect air quality, and the spread of vector-borne disease, like Lyme disease and West Nile virus. Hospitals are among our best front-line partners in responding to the health impacts of climate change. This groundbreaking pilot program incentivizes hospitals to commit to long-term climate solutions while prioritizing workplace health and safety.”

President of the New York State AFL-CIO Mario Cilento said, “Extreme heat conditions contribute to worker illness, injury, and sometimes death. We must do everything we can to ensure workplace safety and this pilot program is a good start. I applaud NYSIF for finding ways to improve worker health and safety while addressing climate change.

Governor Hochul’s Nation-Leading Climate Plan
New York State’s climate agenda calls for an orderly and just transition that creates family-sustaining jobs, continues to foster a green economy across all sectors and ensures that at least 35 percent, with a goal of 40 percent, of the benefits of clean energy investments are directed to disadvantaged communities. Guided by some of the nation’s most aggressive climate and clean energy initiatives, New York is advancing a suite of efforts – including the New York Cap-and-Invest program (NYCI) and other complementary policies – to reduce greenhouse gas emissions 40 percent by 2030 and 85 percent by 2050 from 1990 levels. New York is also on a path to achieving a zero-emission electricity sector by 2040, including 70 percent renewable energy generation by 2030, and economy-wide carbon neutrality by mid-century. A cornerstone of this transition is New York’s unprecedented clean energy investments, including more than $40 billion in 64 large-scale renewable and transmission projects across the state, $6.8 billion to reduce building emissions, $3.3 billion to scale up solar, nearly $3 billion for clean transportation initiatives and over $2 billion in NY Green Bank commitments. These and other investments are supporting more than 170,000 jobs in New York’s clean energy sector as of 2022 and over 3,000 percent growth in the distributed solar sector since 2011. To reduce greenhouse gas emissions and improve air quality, New York also adopted zero-emission vehicle regulations, including requiring all new passenger cars and light-duty trucks sold in the state be zero emission by 2035. Partnerships are continuing to advance New York’s climate action with more than 400 registered and more than 130 certified Climate Smart Communities, nearly 500 Clean Energy Communities, and the state’s largest community air monitoring initiative in 10 disadvantaged communities across the state to help target air pollution and combat climate change.

About NYSIF
With nearly 200,000 policyholders, $1.9 billion in annual premiums, and over $20 billion in invested assets, NYSIF is the largest workers’ compensation insurer in New York State and among the ten largest nationwide. NYSIF’s mission is to guarantee the availability of workers’ compensation, disability insurance and paid family leave at the lowest possible cost to New York employers while maintaining a solvent fund. Since its inception in 1914, NYSIF has fulfilled this mission by competing with other insurance carriers to ensure a fair marketplace while serving as a guaranteed source of coverage for employers who cannot secure coverage elsewhere. NYSIF strives to achieve the best health outcomes for injured workers and be an industry leader in price, quality, and service for New York employers. For more information, visit nysif.com.

CONTACT: Sita Fey NYSIF 607-434-9369 [email protected] 

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