INDIANAPOLIS — United Hospital Services (UHS), Indiana’s mega-laundry is celebrating its 50th anniversary this year.
UHS opened its doors in 1966. Today, the laundry cooperative lays claim to being the largest in Indiana, and one of the largest in the country, processing linen and uniforms for 55 hospitals and over 700 clinics in the region.
“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 plans to celebrate its anniversary with an employee picnic this month and an open house celebration on Sept. 14 for clients, suppliers and the community.
Originally located in downtown Indianapolis, United Hospital Services (UHS) was founded by five Indiana hospitals that pooled their resources to build a stand-alone laundry structured as a not-for-profit cooperative. In return, each member hospital was guaranteed the delivery of fresh, clean linen and uniforms.
In 1994, UHS outgrew its original location and moved to a 116,000-square-foot facility outside the metro area. This new plant was built to utilize the latest technology in the laundry industry.
UHS underwent a conversion to a for-profit limited liability company in 2005 and now serves the needs of both not-for-profit and for-profit hospitals and clinics.
Today, UHS employs more than 250 team members to process approximately 42 million pounds of healthcare textiles yearly. The laundry operates a fleet of 20 trucks to deliver clean linen to clients, and return soiled linen to the plant for processing.
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. UHS is accredited by the Healthcare Laundry Accreditation Council (www.hlacnet.org).
Doing the Laundry
The current UHS laundry has a mixture of original and new equipment that gets the job done. An Etech overhead rail system transports laundry — both soiled and clean — eliminating the need to push carts from area to area throughout the plant.
Four tunnel washers, three Milnor and one Kannegiesser wash the bulk of the laundry. According to UHS these four tunnels boost production and decrease water consumption. Goods are dried by 17 Milnor and 6 Kannegiesser dryers. Finishing equipment includes Kannegiessers garment hangering / steam tunnel / folding system, 4-Chicago large piece feeders / pickers, 3-Kannegiesser ironers, 1-Jensen ironer and a Hypro.
Committed to Green and Sustainable Operations
According to the company, the average industrial washer uses 3 gallons of water per pound of laundry. With its advanced recycling system, UHS uses only 1.0 gallon per pound.
The company is also proud to provide reusable products. Textiles and uniforms are laundered, delivered to clients and then picked up after use — before the cleaning process is repeated. This process keeps hundreds of thousands of pounds of waste from disposable alternatives out of Indiana landfills.
UHS rents 120,000 reusable isolation gowns per week saving the environment more than 300 tons of medical waste annually, on this one item alone.
Additionally, laundry operations are run in an environmentally sustainable manner. UHS re-uses water, minimizes utility costs and recycles as much as possible, including the plastic bags used for transporting soiled laundry. The company offers reusable bags for collecting soiled linen for the most environmentally conscious.
UHS hasn’t stopped looking towards growth and the future. Plans are underway to lease a 10,000 square-foot depot in Bloomington, and five acres adjoining the present Park Davis location was recently purchased to accommodate future expansion.