FRANKFORT, Ill. — The Healthcare Laundry Accreditation Council (HLAC) accredited its 100th healthcare laundry when HandCraft Linen Services, Richmond, Va., earned the distinction in May, HLAC reports.
“We’re proud to have reached this milestone in HLAC’s history,” says HLAC Chairperson Patti Costello, executive director of the American Society for Healthcare Environmental Services (ASHES). “Laundries voluntarily seeking accreditation demonstrate they understand the importance of continuous benchmarking, process improvement, patient safety, and providing hygienically clean textiles to customers.”
The non-profit HLAC was formed for the purpose of inspecting and accrediting laundries processing healthcare textiles for hospitals, nursing homes and other healthcare facilities. Becoming accredited is an entirely voluntary process. HLAC does not have members, but is comprised of a volunteer Board of Directors.
Since it began accrediting laundry organizations in 2006, the HLAC has “seen a growing commitment to voluntary industry excellence and a much greater awareness of the unique role healthcare textile processing plays in national patient-safety goals,” Costello adds. “As the demand for healthcare grows, so too will the need for qualified healthcare laundry providers who are well prepared to handle the increasing needs of its healthcare customers.”
“We’re thrilled to be the 100th laundry accredited by HLAC,” says Keith Nichols, president of HandCraft Linen Services, a family-owned and -operated company that has been in business since 1969 and employs more than 250. “Seeking this independent certification sends an important message to our customers and prospects that we’ve developed a culture of high performance and excellence, which results in a product that consistently meets their needs every day. And it aligns with the ongoing HandCraft legacy of hard work, innovation, and commitment to the laundry industry.”
HandCraft’s state-of-the-art facilities process more than 27 million pounds of healthcare textiles each year and service more than 4,000 hospital and nursing-home beds and more than 450 medical office surgery centers. HLAC Executive Director Kathy Tinker presented HandCraft’s management and owners with the accreditation plaque in late June.
Northwest Health Care Linen, a healthcare linen-service provider for customers in the Puget Sound, Wash., region since 1992, also received accreditation recently.
“When you go into a healthcare facility as a patient, cleanliness is critically important to stopping the spread of bacteria,” says James Hall, CEO of Northwest Health Care Linen. “In this industry, hospitals have no way to measure what you’re doing, apart from the end product delivered. That’s what this accreditation looks at: how you provide the sanitary laundry that aids in the prevention of bacteria spread and infection.”
The HLAC accreditation process includes an evaluation of written documents; a walk-through and inspection of the facility; employee and management interviews; and more. The HLAC standards focus on a number of aspects, with the ultimate goal being the separation of clean textiles from soiled textiles at all times.
“This accreditation gives us a high level of credibility in the industry, setting us apart from those who aren’t currently accredited or who, frankly, aren’t able to meet these high standards,” Hall says.