Gundersen Lutheran Health System: Gundersen CEO named Champion of Change by White House

LA CROSSE, Wis., July 9, 2013 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) — The White House today
honored Gundersen Health System CEO Jeff Thompson, MD, and 10 others as
Champions of Change in the area of Climate and Health. Dr. Thompson was
recognized for his visionary leadership in environmental stewardship
for healthcare organizations.

According to a White House media advisory, “The Champions of Change
program was created as an opportunity for the White House to feature
groups of Americans — individuals, businesses and organizations — who
are doing extraordinary things to empower and inspire members of their

Dr. Thompson is the CEO of Gundersen Health System, headquartered in La
Crosse, Wis., and serving 19 counties in Wisconsin, Minnesota and Iowa.
Under his leadership, the healthcare organization is poised to become
energy independent in 2014.

“As a healthcare organization, it is our responsibility to not only
take care of patients in a hospital or clinic, but to help our patients
and communities stay well. Part of that is caring for the health of the
environment,” Dr. Thompson says.

“Dr. Thompson is a national leader in demonstrating how hospitals can
kick their addiction to fossil fuels and save money while continuing to
provide the highest quality of care. The health system is also a
critical partner in building a healthier and more vibrant community.
Gundersen’s model is one that we are trying to replicate around the
country through the Healthier Hospitals Initiative, in which Gundersen
is one of the sponsors,” says Gary Cohen, the founder and president of
Healthier Hospitals Initiative.

A handful of highlights of Gundersen’s Envision program include:

— Achieving $1.3 million in annual saving as a 25 percent energy
improvement through energy conservation efforts.

— A project in partnership with La Crosse County, Wis., that uses waste
biogas from a garbage landfill and turns it into electricity and heat
for one of Gundersen’s campuses, making the campus 100 percent energy

— A biomass boiler project that uses clean, locally-sourced wood
byproducts from the lumber industry and represents 38 percent of
Gundersen’s energy independence goal.

— A wind turbine project in Cashton, Wis., in partnership with Organic
Valley and the village of Cashton that provides enough electricity for
1,000 homes.

— A 38 percent recycling rate of its solid waste stream in 2012.

“Our goals at Gundersen are to decrease emissions and save healthcare
dollars. Along the way, our hope is to inspire others not only in our
community, but across the nation and show them what can be achieved if
we all work together,” Dr. Thompson says, adding, “The Champions of
Change award is an honor not just for me, but for the thousands of
Gundersen staff members who have dedicated themselves to creating a
healthier environment for our patients and the communities we serve.”To
learn more about Gundersen Envision, go to

A photo accompanying this release is available at

CONTACT: Chris Stauffer
Gundersen Media and Communications
(608) 775-6622
[email protected]

Brian Gilberts
Gundersen Media and Communications
(608) 775-6399
[email protected]