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Baltimore Medical Systems new headquarters receives LEED-Platinum certification

Baltimore Medical System's (BMS) new Highlandtown Healthy Living Center officially received LEED-Platinum certification from the U.S. Green Building Council last week.

The Highlandtown Healthy Living Center is the first Federally Qualified Health Center (FQHC) in the country to receive LEED-Platinum Certification. The award was presented by Peter Templeton, President of the Green Building Certification Institute (GBCI).

BMS had not initially planned to build a green building, says Jay Wolvovsky, president and CEO. Once the healthcare organization decided to build an entirely new building, The Knott Foundation, an early funder, challenged BMS to think about building an environmentally-friendly facility that met LEED standards.

"We didn't know anything about it at all and had to do a fair amount of investigation. As we learned more, we were able to draw our own conclusions about the linkage between environmental factors and our patients' health. What is the environment of an inner city neighborhood? What are the environmental factors associated with a neighborhood that doesn't have a lot of green in it? What's the impact on water and air quality, or of lead in paint on houses? What's the environmental impact of not having enough parkland in the area so people can get exercise, keep their weight down and deal with their diabetes, obesity and heart disease," he explains.

As BMS leaders continued to weigh these factors, they began setting the bar higher and higher until finally the decision was made to go for LEED-Platinum. "It became a mission and a passion that this building would stand for more than just being the best space for us to deliver our healthcare services in. It was going to be a standard bearer for the organization, making a statement about ourselves and what we believe in and what we think is the next frontier for healthcare dealing with public health issues, including the environment, diversity, and healthcare disparities."

The building delivers comprehensive primary care to more than 22,000 patients from over 50 countries each year. Baltimore Medical System is the largest provider of primary health care to medically underserved communities in Maryland. BMS provides special services to help uninsured, non-English speaking and other high need patient groups access care. Over 48,000 people each year receive medical services and education at BMS's six health centers throughout Baltimore City and County and six City school-based locations.

Source: Jay Wolvovsky, Baltimore Medical System
Writer: Walaika Haskins

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