In August, American Laundry News invited its Wire subscribers to participate in an online survey on the value of accreditation. The survey results revealed that about half indicated accreditation was worthwhile, while others were either unsure or felt accreditation did not offer any additional benefits.
The Healthcare Laundry Accreditation Council (HLAC) appreciates the opportunity to be included in the survey, but wants to clarify some details as they relate to the comments published.
HLAC accreditation standards were developed for laundries currently processing healthcare textiles; its standards do not apply to a non-healthcare textile processor. HLAC standards are designed to address the challenges of properly processing healthcare textiles and protecting workers who come into contact with textiles that may be soiled with bloodborne pathogens.HLAC VS. JOINT COMMISSION
HLAC serves as a central repository for all standards as they relate to processing healthcare textiles in a laundry operation.
The Joint Commission (formerly Joint Commission for Accreditation of Healthcare Organizations) standards assess a much broader set of criteria for a healthcare organization meant to improve the overall patient experience via a variety of standards that assess infection control, leadership and management competencies, ambulatory issues, medication management and much more.
Hence, HLAC does not consider itself a direct competitor or replacement for The Joint Commission, but rather a more focused, expert organization with standards targeted toward helping the healthcare textile laundry provider become more disciplined and organized. HLAC is the only accrediting organization for healthcare laundries.
One of the respondents commented, “Accreditation can be had by anyone who reads a book but knows little about the subject.” Any laundry manager who has worked on earning an accreditation or certification knows that it involves a lot more than just reading the standards.
It takes the investment of many hours to ensure:
• Processes (state, national, local and internal) are in place and properly followed.
• Employees are trained regularly and consistently.
• Documentation for all processes is on file and up to date.
In addition, preparing for inspection requires management to take a step back and observe its operation from an inspector’s point of view, possibly perform a mock inspection of its own, and educate and prepare its employees for the independent inspection. This is done to ensure the plant is following all standards and requirements — in essence making sure everyone is “walking the talk.”HLAC RAISES THE BAR
What better way to show customers you understand their needs and expectations than by securing accreditation from HLAC?
When a laundry chooses to become accredited, it is a significant investment, one that illustrates to the healthcare industry and the laundry’s customers that it is committed to provide the best product and service possible. This in turn raises the bar for everyone and helps professionalize the industry. The hard work in preparing and achieving accreditation yields important results — quality improvement, customer satisfaction and patient safety.
President, Reino Linen