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From Red to Green

By David Ollier Weber
HHN Magazine

When Kermit the Frog sang his famous lament it reflected a unique personal circumstance. But American hospitals can certainly feel the celebrated Muppet’s pain: “It’s not easy being green.”

Hospitals, in fact, are by their very nature red—a color that symbolizes power, danger, emergency, heat, blood and, on balance sheets, expenses.

Consider that hospitals are frequently the largest employer and biggest consumer of almost everything in their community. They operate around the clock, their HVAC systems perking; their kitchens bubbling; their lights ablaze; their incinerators chuffing; red bags of potentially lethal clinical wastes, from human organs to bloody “sharps,” piling up; trash bins brimming with food scraps and discarded plastics; faucets and toilets and washing machines and lawn sprinklers gurgling ... while checks to pay for all that costly electricity, gas and water, and for the disposal of all that waste, constantly waft out the finance department door. It’s not easy being red.

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