Operations & Processing

COMMERCIAL – Typically a for-profit laundry business operating in the community providing laundered textiles under contract for their customers. It is not unusual for the laundry to be located 200 or more miles from their customers.

The textiles are owned by the laundry processing company and rented by the consumer or owned by the customer who pays the laundry to service them – or a combination of both.

  • These operations typically require business licenses and appropriate authorization to discharge high volume water.
  • Voluntary accreditation & certification programs have been developed to aid consumers in decision-making regarding services provided.
  • Hospitals who utilize commercial laundry operations are required by Federal Authority to provide regular oversight for compliance with hospital policy and state public health statutes.

ON-PREMISE – Often referred to as an OPL, was the original model where the laundry is operated in the hospital, hotel, or university as a department or division. Economies of scale and tightening healthcare budgets saw a movement away from this model around the turn of the 21st century. It is not uncommon, however, for OPL operations to remain in Long Term Care environments, rural hospitals, and hotels/resorts.

  • Operated as a department of the hospital, hotel, and nursing homes this model is subject to the applicable state licensing in addition to federal healthcare requirements.
  • The leading hospital accrediting bodies (Joint Commission, DNV, Healthcare Facilities Accreditation Program (AAAHC), etc.) in addition to the federal requirements of the Center for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) address laundry & linen services as part of the infection prevention guidance as textiles have rarely been a significant source of infection.

COOPERATIVE – A laundry model surfacing in the 1970’s growing out of the rise of healthcare systems or as a joint venture between multiple healthcare institutions. A shared authority or board that maintains the role of decision-making and oversight of the fiscal and quality aspects of the operation. The term Central Laundry can be synonymous with a cooperative however most often the ownership lies with the parent hospital with the Central Laundry providing services for other similar customers within a geographical location.

These operational models provide textile services in and/or for hospitals, long-term care & assisted living facilities, clinics, hotels, restaurants, resorts, universities, military, sports complexes, and/or prisons.

Regulations specific to laundries are few but all must be compliant with applicable OSHA requirements (see safety section below for details).

Health care laundries - On-Premise and Cooperative models are subject to inspection by the hospital’s accrediting body, such as the Joint Commission, DNV, etc. Each of these organizations guidelines are designed to ensure the facilities compliance with the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) quality standards. These two models are also subject to unannounced periodic inspections by the state department of health, typically an annual visit.

OSHA – Laundries operate safely within the general industry regulations of the Occupational Safety & Health Administration. As with all federal safety guidance, state regulations may exceed the federal noted here. Generally accepted OSHA regulations impacting laundries include:

A printable glossary of terms is available.