As key players ensuring the safety, cleanliness and patient-friendliness of health care facilities, environmental services departments hold a wide range of important responsibilities. What’s more, they’re being challenged to perform these functions more efficiently and collaboratively than ever before.



  • Marci Butts, CHESP, environmental services director, West Chester (Ohio) Hospital, UC Health
  • Doug Rothermel, CHESP, chief of environmental management services, VA Connecticut Healthcare System, West Haven, Conn.
  • Tom Mattice, CHESP, CMIP, T-CHEST, director of environmental services, Montefiore Nyack Hospital, a member of the Montefiore Health System, Nyack, N.Y.


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This month, we show how the 2019 Environmental Services Department of the Year Award winners are meeting this challenge through a variety of training, technology and management strategies.

Presented by the Association for the Health Care Environment (AHE) and sponsored by Tork, an Essity brand, the award recognizes best practices in cleaning and caring for the health care environment efficiently and effectively.

It highlights the outstanding achievements by leading-edge environmental services teams in maintaining high levels of performance in cleaning, disinfection, infection prevention, environmental sustainability and stewardship, use of technology, patient satisfaction, collaboration, and education and training in critical areas.

In the profile articles that follow, you’ll learn how environmental services teams in health care organizations of different sizes in different parts of the country improved their performances and outcomes by working together and with other departments to overcome obstacles while keeping a careful eye on budgets.

At Parkview Health, Fort Wayne, Ind., for instance, a new hire training program has led to a better trained workforce resulting in high patient satisfaction rates. Additionally, the environmental services department’s dedication to teamwork and collaboration has driven new programs to improve operational efficiencies. High employee retention rates are another benefit of Parkview’s environmental services initiatives.

Elsewhere, Geisinger Community Medical Center, Scranton, Pa., uses a heavy focus on engagement to improve patient satisfaction and bolster staff involvement. Moreover, Lean methodology has improved efficiency as well as disinfection performance at the hospital. Additionally, Geisinger’s environmental services team also has demonstrated a readiness to adopt new technologies.

Finally, at Northside Hospital – Cherokee, Canton, Ga., the environmental services staff demonstrated how performance can be improved even as it moved to a much larger facility. Focusing on people, quality and patient satisfaction, the department upgraded efficiency through collaboration and technology. What’s more, investments in staff training and career development earned the department a facilitywide reputation for proficiency. Another result is a stellar reputation with patients.

The three teams, which will be honored this month at AHE’s Exchange 2019 conference and solution center in San Antonio, offer important lesson to professionals involved in all aspects of health facilities management.