INDIANAPOLIS — United Hospital Services (UHS) is celebrating its 50th anniversary this year, according to the company.
“We are proud to celebrate 50 years of providing customers with one of their most important supplies—clean linen and uniforms—every day, rain or shine,” says President and CEO Edward McCauley. “I attribute our success to the strong support of the business community, our hard-working employees and great relationships with suppliers.”
UHS says the laundry cooperative is the largest in Indiana and one of the largest in the country. The facility currently provides clean linen and uniforms for 55 hospitals and 700-plus clinics in the region. That translates to almost 42 million pounds of laundry each year.
A series of events are planned to commemorate the anniversary, including an employee picnic on July 21 and an Open House for clients, suppliers and the community on Sept. 14.
The company first opened its doors in 1966, when five Indianapolis-area hospitals pooled their resources to build the stand-alone, not-for-profit laundry cooperative, the company says. In return, each member hospital was guaranteed the delivery of fresh, clean linen and uniforms.
The five founding member hospitals include Community Hospital East, St. Francis Beech Grove Hospital, Winona Hospital, Indiana University Hospital and St. Vincent Fall Creek Hospital.
The original facility was located in downtown Indianapolis at the corner of Meridian and South streets. By 1994, UHS needed more space and moved to a larger 116,000-square-foot building outside the metro area on Park Davis Drive.
In an era when infection control is a top-of-the-list priority for healthcare facilities, UHS says it has adopted the highest industry standards for processing healthcare laundry and is accredited by the Healthcare Laundry Accreditation Council (HLAC).
The new plant was built using the latest technology in the laundry industry, including a system of four continuous batch washers (or tunnels) to wash the bulk of the laundry, according to UHS. These four tunnels boost production while decreasing water consumption. An overhead rail system transports laundry—both soiled and clean—eliminating the need to manually push carts from area to area in the plant.
In addition to increased operational efficiencies, the company says the high-tech laundry equipment allows it to minimize its impact on the environment through reduced utility and water consumption.
In 2005, UHS underwent a conversion to a for-profit limited liability company and now serves the needs of both not-for-profit and for-profit hospitals and clinics. In 2013, the co-op merged with a small laundry in Kokomo, Ind.
Today, the company says plans are under way to lease a 10,000-square-foot depot in Bloomington, Ind., and five acres adjoining the present Park Davis location was recently purchased to accommodate future expansion.