Get a ‘load’ of this: Michigan Medicine joins laundry cooperative

June 22, 2020  //  FOUND IN: Strategy & Leadership,

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In partnership with two other regional health systems, Michigan Medicine has opened a cooperative laundry services facility, which will bring immediate and long-term cost savings to all three organizations.

The new state-of-the-art Metropolitan Detroit Area Hospital Services (MDAHS) plant has the capacity to process up to 78 million pounds of linen each year, serving St. Joseph Mercy Health, Henry Ford Health System and Michigan Medicine.

For Michigan Medicine, the new facility, jointly owned by the cooperative members, is part of the organization’s ongoing push toward high reliability, reduction of health care costs and unnecessary duplication, according to U-M Health System Senior Vice President and Chief Operating Officer Tony Denton.

“Partnering with peer institutions means we’ll enjoy the benefits of scale. More importantly, it allows us to collectively invest in a modern facility, which assures continued reliable service,” said Denton. “While it all takes place behind the scenes, laundry and linen service is essential to daily operations, with emphasis on patient and provider safety.”

Denton expressed gratitude toward an internal project team for its efforts in bringing this concept to reality, facilitated by Bob Harris, associate health system director for facilities and operations.

The new facility replaces a hospital-owned laundry facility on Dean Road in Ann Arbor that has been in operation since 1969. Michigan Medicine has worked closely with AFSCME union leaders and Central Campus colleagues to identify placement opportunities for impacted employees. These employees have either already been placed in new positions or received offers for new positions.

A commitment to community

The MDAHS plant is expected to create up to 100 additional jobs in the community.

Locating the facility in Detroit supports U-M’s commitment to the city, evidenced by the university’s14-acre Detroit Center for Innovation, a $300-million, 190,000-square-foot research and graduate education center, as well as its acquisition of the Horace H. Rackham Educational Memorial Building. This investment has led to several education and research initiatives, including the Wolverine Pathways college readiness program and the Poverty Solutions initiative.

Maintaining exceptional standards

Michigan Medicine has recently established a new laundry distribution service center near the Ann Arbor airport to deliver the clean linen to its hospitals and various ambulatory clinic and procedural locations across southeast Michigan. The linen distribution team is now a part of Supply Chain Services, led by Janet Abbruzzese, director of supply chain strategy and procurement.

“We’re committed to maintaining exceptional service standards. The linen distribution team has worked very hard to ensure that this transition is seamless for our providers and patients,” Abbruzzese said.

While most Michigan Medicine staff and patients are unlikely to notice any difference, those with sharp eyes and keen attention to detail may have already spotted subtle differences in some linen items. With some specialty item exceptions, all three participating health systems will use the same linen items including sheets, basic scrub uniforms, towels and more. The shared linen items have already been incorporated at Michigan Medicine over the last several months.

MDAHS opened its new doors on June 1, providing linen services to St. Joseph Mercy Health and Henry Ford hospitals. Michigan Medicine migrated its laundry last week.