EVANSTON, Ill. — Since the Healthcare Laundry Accreditation Council (HLAC) began its inspection program less than a year ago, more than 40 healthcare laundries have signed up seeking accreditation, the HLAC reports.
To date, 11 laundries have received accreditation and another 30 are in the process of preparing for the inspection that will qualify them.
HLAC’s mission is to publish high standards for laundering healthcare textiles, and to provide an inspection and accreditation process that recognizes those laundries that meet these standards. The decision to become accredited is completely voluntary.
The primary benefit of accreditation is that an independent third party has inspected the facility and found that it meets or exceeds these standards for processing healthcare textiles. A laundry cannot inspect and accredit itself, and its customers generally don’t have the time or expertise to conduct such an inspection.
“Accreditation makes us a better company,” says David Stern, president of Paris Healthcare Linen Service, Ravenna, Ohio, in a testimonial on HLAC’s website. “And it gives our customers peace of mind to know their supplier is meeting the highest standards in processing healthcare textiles.”
“The customers that we serve – predominantly acute-care hospitals – are used to dealing with agencies, vendors and people who have accreditation. ... We also chose accreditation because we believe in the near future that many healthcare organizations – for profit and not for profit – will require accreditation in their bids.”
“I chose to have United Hospital Services accredited because my hospitals asked it of me,” says Ed McCauley, president. “I run a large, healthcare-focused laundry owned by 23 hospitals in the Indianapolis area and report on a quarterly basis to a Quality Control and Standards Committee.
“The committee was telling me that UHS needed to have some kind of accreditation to show during JCAHO inspections. So that was really my motivation to seek accreditation from HLAC.
“I didn’t do it for a competitive advantage in the marketplace. My clients are my bosses, and they wanted the accreditation to show to their bosses.”
The HLAC accreditation process was developed by representatives from several industry groups, including the American Reusable Textile Association (ARTA), the International Association for Healthcare Textile Management (IAHTM), the National Association of Institutional Linen Management (NAILM) and the Textile Rental Services Association of America (TRSA).
Inspectors are interviewed and approved by the HLAC board of directors. These independent contractors receive in-depth training in the standards and HLAC inspection guidelines and must sign a code of conduct before they’re allowed to work.
The current roster lists five:
• James P. Connors, director of environmental and textile services, Lifespan Academic Medical Center central laundry, Providence, R.I.
• Kenneth A. Dotts, human resource director, Reino Linen Service, Gibsonburg, Ohio.
• Thomas J. Fitzgerald III, CHESP, chief of environmental services, VA Palo Alto Healthcare System, Palo Alto, Calif.
• Donald Pedder, industry consultant and president of ARTA.
• A.L. “Sonny” Wyatt Jr., RLLD, CHESP, director of environmental services, AnMed Health, Anderson, S.C.