The implications of the post-health care reform environment are moving rapidly toward us, and it is clear that there are increasing performance expectations at every level within health care. It is our responsibility as environmental services (ES) professionals to lead our departments and empower our teams to deliver health care in the most efficient and cost-effective manner possible.

Recently, I had the opportunity to attend a presentation by Newt Gingrich on the "New Reality of Health Care" at the American Hospital Association's (AHA's) Health Forum Leadership Summit. My take-away was that health care is about to embark on a transformation that will permanently change the way we deliver care. His message was simple: We will never return to the current health care delivery system, and it will be replaced with a 21st century intelligent health system that will save lives and money.

As health care professionals, we must be prepared for major changes in our respective systems and be proactive leaders — ones most likely to succeed in a challenging environment. Each of us needs to assess and strategize our role during the changes and define and demonstrate the value our leadership will bring to the process. We can begin by meeting with our management and supervisory teams and develop a list of initiatives that have led to our current level of success, including innovative ideas for cost reduction and value-added initiatives in support of the new health care environment.

An area that continues to offer opportunities across multiple disciplines is sustainable operations. What began as green initiatives primarily focused on recycling and waste reduction have become more strategically focused around environmentally sound preferences, energy and water conservation, supply chain management standardization and risk assessment and mitigation — all of which improve margins and achieve transformational results.

I hope you will attend our Annual Conference & Healthcare Marketplace on Sept. 26-30 at the Gaylord National Resort in National Harbor, Md. AHA President and CEO Rich Umbdenstock will talk about the high-level and operational implications of health reform, as will Elizabeth Summy, AHA's vice president of the personal membership groups. This is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for us to meet in our nation's capital to take part in a well-balanced program at competitive rates.

Fiona Nemetz, CHESP
Director of Environmental Services, Transport, Safety and Parking
Saint Joseph’s Hospital of Atlanta

Sidebar - ASHES insight

Annual conferencemoved to DC area

As reported last month, the ASHES Annual Conference & Healthcare Marketplace has been relocated to the Gaylord National Harbor in Maryland (Washington, D.C., metro area) due to the tragic flooding at the Gaylord Opryland Resort in Nashville, Tenn., where the event was originally scheduled.

For more information on the event, which will be held Sept. 26-30, go to ASHES' website at

ASHES offers online CHESP study group

ASHES is offering an online Certified Healthcare Environmental Services Professional (CHESP) Study Group, which will start on Nov. 8 and last six weeks. CHESP candidates or potential candidates will collaborate, interact, review material and help each other prepare for the exam. For more information, visit

Environmental services week products and gifts

Environmental services managers and their staffs can celebrate Environmental Services and Housekeeping Week on Sept. 12-18 with ASHES' exclusive collection of products and gifts. The items are available for purchase at