In my work, I am exposed to quite a few layers of management in hospitals and health systems — from CEOs to a variety of department heads. And while it's always dangerous to make generalizations, I must say I consistently find environmental services (ES) leaders to be among the most humble when talking about their work.

Don't get me wrong. They're proud of what they and their teams do to provide a clean and safe environment for patients and staff. It's just that they don't often beat their own drums when it comes to their team's accomplishments — at least not without a little prodding.

So, let me take this opportunity to encourage you to share with us the many ways in which you and your team have excelled over the past year. I hope this will be the year that you'll enter the ES Department of the Year awards program, sponsored jointly by Health Facilities Management (HFM) and the Association for the Healthcare Environment (AHE).

Currently in its eighth year, the program is open to all U.S. hospitals and recognizes top-performing hospital ES teams based on performance in 13 critical areas.

This year's program has been expanded to cover three categories of hospitals based on bed size: fewer than 150 beds; 150 to 450 beds; and more than 450 beds. All applications must be for a single hospital, although health systems may create separate applications for more than one of their facilities. A panel of judges selected by AHE and HFM will score the applications.

The winning organizations will be profiled in Health Facilities Management and will be recognized at AHE's annual conference Sept. 21–24 in Tampa, Fla. Visit for more information on the conference. The judges also may issue Certificates of Merit to hospitals that achieve appropriate scores.

It's important to make full disclosure. Completing the online application will take some time. However, we trust you'll find this a rewarding experience as you document the successes you and your team have accomplished over the past year.

Visit to access the online application form. While on the site, you can also view previous winning entries. The deadline for submitting entries is May 23.

HFM and AHE are proud to recognize the many great examples of ES teams that focus on continuous improvement and evidence-based cleaning practices.

I hope you'll join us in this year's program to recognize America's best ES teams.

Bob Kehoe is the associate publisher of Health Facilities Management. He can be reached at