Environmental services (EVS) professionals have a lot of responsibilities — from inspecting, cleaning and sanitizing the rooms and equipment within a health care setting to removing hazardous waste and ensuring that all cleanliness practices comply with federal and state codes. Many observers can take these challenging tasks for granted, failing to recognize how vital these crews are to the safety and proper functioning of a busy hospital or medical facility.
But these efforts do not go unappreciated by the Association for the Health Care Environment (AHE), which annually honors outstanding EVS departments with its EVS Department of the Year Award. This accolade spotlights those using best practices in effective and efficient cleaning of and caring for the health care environment by choosing hospital EVS departments worthy of recognition.
Recipients for the 2022 award, which is sponsored by Tork, excelled above competing entries by proving — via impressive data and detailed accomplishments — that their efforts in the areas of cleaning, disinfection, infection prevention, environmental sustainability and stewardship, patient satisfaction, collaboration, use of technology and training/education were a cut above the rest.
Three hospital EVS teams and their accomplishments are lauded for their performance and achievements in the profiles that follow.
- The EVS department at Orlando Regional Medical Center in Orlando, Fla. — honored in the 500-plus bed category — stood out above its peers in multiple ways: It implemented patient safety issues and processes into its daily staff member practices; boosted its average Hospital Consumer Assessment of Healthcare Providers and Systems (HCAHPS) courtesy scores, exceeding goals set; received the prestigious Orlando Health Marilyn King Award; and improved its cleanliness scores dramatically.
“Orlando Regional submitted a very thorough application that elaborated on all points with data and process explanations,” says Marci Butts, MBA, BHA, T-CHEST, an award judge and manager of support services for Mercy Health – West Hospital in Cincinnati. “They were also transitioning from contract to in-house services, were visited by The Joint Commission and were involved in the COVID-19 struggle. This team managed to decrease turnaround times, improve patient experience scores, drive employee engagement even higher and participate in interdisciplinary teams to improve the facility’s overall success.”
- The EVS crew at Mayo Clinic Health System in Northwest Wisconsin in Eau Claire, Wis., was the winner in the 250-499 bed category. They created a new training and development coordinator position to better meet the needs of new and current employees; emphasized cross-training of staff to ensure all EVS employees were properly cleaning inpatient rooms and critical areas; launched a process to load-level staff schedules; onboarded float staff; and emphasized internal promotions and transitions.
“Mayo Clinic Health System identified a variety of innovative programs they had implemented to qualify for the award,” says Shawna Brown, award judge and director of post-acute care and federal member services, field engagement, for the American Hospital Association. “I was impressed that they provided opportunities to showcase and elevate staff for their work and the significant impact it had on the services provided to patients, as well as the collaborative efforts evident in working with their teammates and fellow employees.”
- The EVS department at Crothall Healthcare, Texas Health Frisco in Frisco, Texas, won the award in the 249 beds or fewer category. Among other successes, its EVS department exemplifies the Texas Health Frisco “WOW” culture of providing each guest with a “Warm welcome,” “Out of this world experience” and “What could we have done better” approach to service; reduced its linen usage, yielding significant savings; substantially decreased its room turnaround times; and upped its HCAHPS cleanliness scores.
“Crothall Healthcare provided details on several different programs that demonstrated its patient-centric efforts to render quality and outstanding service to patients, while at the same time partnering with other units and recognizing significant unit and individual improvements to enhance patient satisfaction,” says Brown, who also judged this category. “They proved that, by including ample documentation and details in their submission, more is better when competing for an award of this nature.”