June 27, 2013
Bangor, Maine – It may be surprising to know that Eastern Maine Medical Center processes between 10,000 to 15,000 pounds of laundry each day. The current EMMC laundry, which supports EMMC and Acadia Hospital, has inadequate space to manage this volume demand. In addition, the equipment is aging and needs to be replaced. Also, since EMMC began planning for the Modernization Project, which includes updated surgical suites, cardiac care space, and woman and infant services, it has been clear that EMMC’s Laundry Services needs to move off the State Street campus in order to ensure the organization stays within its waste water capacity once the new care space is operational.
Joel Farley, MS, FACHE, EMMC Facilities and Emergency Preparedness administrator says, “Through discussions with the City of Bangor, we have determined that leaving laundry facilities on-campus is not feasible. Due to increased demand, we are at risk of overloading our city waste water capacity. While many laundry models were thoroughly researched and carefully considered, the best option is to contract our laundry to a vendor that will be selected through our work with the Northeast Purchasing Coalition.”
Inevitably with the change in laundry model at EMMC, comes the need to redesign the workforce within that department. Contracting EMMC’s laundry will result in the elimination of 17 out of 27 current laundry positions; however that does not mean people will be without jobs. “EMMC laundry staff has been kept updated throughout this decision making process,” comments Paul Bolin, MBA, SPHR, director, Human Resources. “We are fully supporting all employees who may be affected by this change. EMMC leadership is working closely with these employees to find other positions within EMMC and, with the help of the EMHS Employee Career Center, will also be able to explore positions available at other member organizations.”
Although the Modernization Project prompted the switch to a contract-based laundry model, this decision comes at a time when the national health delivery system is experiencing rapid change, and leaders of healthcare systems from coast to coast are working hard to keep pace. To better position EMMC to meet the patient care needs of the future, the medical center has partnered with other EMHS member organizations to carefully examine how to better align and strengthen its nonclinical areas, such as laundry, and clinical support services, while reinvesting resources into patient care throughout the system.
In the coming months, a team with representation from all EMHS member organizations, will begin the laundry vendor selection process, finalize the implementation plan, move any necessary equipment, and prepare sites for the contract-based model. Other EMHS member hospitals, Sebasticook Valley Health in Pittsfield, Inland Hospital in Waterville, and Acadia Hospital in Bangor, who already contract their laundry, will join EMMC on a common laundry contract beginning this fall.
As a member of EMHS, EMMC seamlessly coordinates care, working with our member organizations throughout Maine to provide an integrated system focused on achieving better results for individuals, businesses, and communities. We are continually seeking new ways to ensure patients are getting the care they need at a lower cost to improve collective health and well-being. By working together, we have an opportunity to truly improve the health of the patients and communities we serve.