Linens Cleared in UPMC Mold Case
TRSA stated that there is no evidence linking linens to the several deaths that are at the center of a number of lawsuits involving the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center (UPMC).
The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and Pennsylvania Department of Health (PaDOH) did not implicate linens as a source of mold that infected the UPMC patients and both agencies stated they would not investigate further.
“State and federal health officials reaffirmed their earlier findings clearing linens and the UPMC-commissioned study did not indicate any significant linen contamination at the laundry or hospital,” said Hygienically Clean Advisory Board Chair Randy Bartsch, Ecotex Healthcare Linen Service Corp., Seattle/Tacoma, Wash. “We believe it is important that any implication of linen in healthcare associated infections (HAIs) is taken seriously and that Hygienically Clean Healthcare facilities are prepared to address customer concerns and take precautionary actions.”
TRSA’s Hygienically Clean Healthcare certification, recognized as the highest standard of certification in healthcare linen safety and cleanliness, is the only healthcare standard in North America that requires initial and ongoing quarterly microbiological testing based on internationally recognized protocols and standards. In addition, Hygienically Clean Healthcare tests for molds and yeasts, and after more than 3,000 microbial tests of healthcare linens and garments, there has never been any evidence of Rhizopus or other dangerous molds.
The Paris Cos., the launderer identified in the lawsuits, is not Hygienically Clean Healthcare certified. They are Healthcare Laundry Accreditation Council (HLAC) accredited which does not require testing and mandates only one inspection every three years.
Hygienically Clean Healthcare standards for processing linens and garments require inspection to verify laundries’ commitment to best management practices (BMPs) plus this microbial testing to quantify hygiene of clean textiles produced. Certification confirms a laundry’s dedication to compliance and BMPs as described in its quality assurance documentation (QA). The standard also requires quarterly ongoing microbial testing and a supplemental second inspection during a facility’s three-year certification period.
Nearly 100 operators representing Hygienically Clean Healthcare certified facilities across North America participated in a teleconference on Wednesday, February 1st to share information and discuss the recently publicized University of Pittsburgh Medical Center (UPMC) case involving healthcare linens. During the teleconference, participants received an update regarding media coverage, discussed implications for laundering best management practices and were given access to resources to assist them in communicating with customers – http://hygienicallyclean.org/
In addition, the Hygienically Clean Advisory Board, Healthcare Committee, and Hygienically Clean Users Groups will review all Hygienically Clean Healthcare policies and procedures, including testing and inspection. The standard was updated in December adding a second supplemental inspection during the three year certification period and preliminary studies are underway to identify and test critical control points within the laundry.