The 2013 Environmental Services Department of the Year award program is now accepting entries. The program, open to all U.S. hospitals, recognizes the highest levels of performance in 14 critical areas.

Created seven years ago, the program provides a great way for top-performing ES teams to earn recognition for their teams and organizations. The award is a joint effort between Health Facilities Management (HFM) and the Association for the Healthcare Environment (AHE). Cintas Corp., Cincinnati, sponsors the award.

To be eligible, entrants must complete a questionnaire available at On the entry website, you'll find the contest rules and application form, examples of previous winning entries and articles HFM has published on the award winners and finalists.

The questionnaire covers such areas as educational and training programs, productivity improvements achieved during 2012, how the ES team deploys technology to improve efficiency and quality, and efforts to improve infection prevention and patient safety. Efforts to reduce waste streams and increase recycling, Hospital Consumer Assessment of Healthcare Providers and Systems scores related to ES performance, and how the ES team engages senior management also are covered.

A panel of judges appointed by HFM and AHE reviews the applications and selects the winning organization and a finalist. Certificate of Merit awards are issued to organizations that achieve sufficient scores from the judges.

Previous winners of the ES Department of the Year Award include the University of Wisconsin Hospitals and Clinics, Madison (2012); Advocate Christ Medical Center and Advocate Children's Hospital (formerly Hope Children's Hospital), Oak Lawn, Ill. (2011); Doylestown (Pa.) Hospital (2010); the Department of Veterans Affairs Tennessee Valley Healthcare System (2009); Bon Secours St. Mary's Hospital, Richmond, Va. (2008); and Maine Medical Center, Portland, Ore. (2007).