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Enormity of Institutional Waste

Recently while in the Ross Building, I witnessed something that I found deeply disturbing. I watched a Hopkins employee update the Dome newsstand and throw the old copies into the garbage. I was wondering if Dome has a policy of recycling its outdated publications? Because publications are such large generators of waste, we would all benefit from a policy that insured that all un-used copies of the publication were recycled.

Additionally, I noticed that there is no indication that Dome is printed on recycled paper. If this is true, I was wondering why the decision was made against using a more environmentally friendly paper product for the printing of the publication? As a world leader in health care, Hopkins has the opportunity and responsibility to set an example with more environmentally friendly policies. Increasing institutional recycling and use of recycled products would be a step in the right direction.

Joshua Lamb, MS II, and Zubin Vasavada, MS II
co-founders, JHMI Chapter of Students for
Environmental Action in Medicine

Ed.'s Note: You are right: Dome is printed on regular paper. Some years ago, we investigated using recycled paper. Recently, we re-visited the issue. "Almost no paper merchant we regularly work with deals much with recycled paper anymore," our printer told us. "In the mid-1990s it was very popular, and paper companies were really exploring the use. There simply is not the demand for the product now, perhaps because of the price and the fact that the paper just does not print real well-unless it had virtually no post-consumer waste, and then is it really recycled?"

Dome's tight budget precludes hiring a contractor to recycle outdated issues. We do, however, take steps to insure that we print only the amount needed. We now print 17,300 copies for the East Baltimore campus and for outlying Hopkins entities. If you saw leftovers, we obviously need to cut a few.

Another Perspective on HIPAA

Earlier this week I was in the Hopkins Outpatient Clinic awaiting test results, and I happened upon the article about HIPAA in Dome ["HIPAA Arrives," March]. Since I currently work for the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS), and previously administered self-funded health plans, I appreciate the ramifications HIPAA will have for covered entitites.

I am writing to bring your attention to the CMS HIPAA Hotline: 1-800-282-0659, and to the variety of information we have posted on our Web site to help the community comply with this legislation.

Here are some useful links: to frequently asked questions, links to other HIPAA sites, and information on the law, regulations and enforcement); (small provider checklist tool); (CMS Medicaid HIPAA Web address).

Janet Miller, MPA
Division of Partnership Development Center
for Medicare & Medicaid Services




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