The Environmental Services (EVS) Department of the Year Award — presented by the Association for the Health Care Environment (AHE) and sponsored by Tork, an Essity brand — annually honors the best practices in effective and efficient cleaning of and caring for the health care environment by choosing hospital EVS departments worthy of recognition.

The 2021 awardees earned these honors by demonstrating remarkable achievements, especially when it comes to key performance metrics and standards related to cleaning, disinfection, infection prevention, environmental sustainability and stewardship, patient satisfaction, collaboration, use of technology, and training and education in crucial areas.

In the profiles that follow, two hospital EVS teams and their achievements are spotlighted for their exemplary efforts. 

The first, the EVS department at Santa Barbara Cottage Hospital/Cottage Health in Santa Barbara, Calif. — awarded in the 500-plus bed category — rose above the competition on several fronts, including its outstanding HCAHPS survey scores for cleanliness of environment, 95% pass rate for environment of care rounds, admirable adaptability to cleaning and disinfection protocol during COVID-19 surges, and high EVS employee retention and coronavirus vaccination rates.

“Their data and supported descriptions of achievements and operational improvements demonstrated exceptional progression and success,” says Thomas Mattice, CHESP, CMIP, T-CHEST, an award judge and director of environmental services for Montefiore Nyack Hospital, Nyack, N.Y. “This EVS department stood out as a progressive, focused and efficient group. Their HCAHPS percentile of 89%, an 11% improvement from 2019 for all participating facilities, is impressive. Its utilization of AHE’s practice guidance enabled service level agreements to be established, allowing for collaboration between EVS technicians and clinical departments.”

Environmental Services Departments of the Year


  • 500-plus beds: Santa Barbara Cottage Hospital/Cottage Health, Santa Barbara, Calif.
  • 250-499 beds: Geisinger Community Medical Center, Scranton, Pa.

Honorable mentions

  • 500-plus beds: Sutter Medical Center Sacramento, Sacramento, Calif.
  • CaroMont Regional Medica Center, Gastonia, N.C.


  • Marci Butts, BHA, CHESP, MBA, director of environmental services at West Chester Hospital, West Chester, Ohio
  • Doug Rothermel, MBA, CHESP, chief of environmental services at VA Connectivut Healthcare System, West Haven, Conn.
  • Tom Mattice, CHESP, CMIP, T-CHEST, director of environmental services at Montefiore Nyack Hospita, Nyack, N.Y.

The second winner, in the 250-499 bed category, is the EVS team at Geisinger Community Medical Center in Scranton, Pa. This crew was particularly notable for its stellar HCAHPS scores and its employee engagement score ranking in the 74th percentile (up 23 points from last year). Geisinger also reduced patient turnaround times by 14 minutes by employing an electronic bed management system and scheduling staff more efficiently.

“The Geisinger team took the time to elaborate on the improvements they implemented in the past year and studied how those changes impacted the department as well as the organization,” says Marci Butts, BHA, CHESP, MBA, director of environmental services for West Chester Hospital, West Chester, Ohio, and an award judge. “An example is their implementation of a supply scanning system that improved their ability to order based on par levels, resulting in considerable cost savings for the facility. The EVS department experienced considerable improvements in their patient experience scores, too, and is seen as a true partner in the medical center.”

Both EVS departments emerge as shining examples of how best practices and innovative approaches can lead to ideal outcomes in health care facilities.