Hospital laundry jobs to stay in Pratt

Fran Brownell
Pratt Regional Medical Center Laundry Supervisor Loretta Hitz, left, folds freshly-laundered sheets and other items at PRMC's in-house laundry facility, assisted by Laundry Specialist Nichole Moreland. PRMC purchased the laundromat at 820 West First Street late last year and began using it in January 2020. Savings are expected to amount to $100,000 annually from previous costs of out-sourcing the hospital's estimated 164,000-plus pounds of bedding and other items.

Pratt Regional Medical Center kicked off 2020 operating its own laundry service in Pratt with anticipated cost and efficiency savings, as opposed to shipping tons of laundry across the state as has been done in the past.

“Not only will operating our own laundry services improve timeliness and quality, we have created two new full-time jobs for our community,” PRMC Vice President and Chief Operating Officer Alan Waites said. “We also see keeping PRMC expense dollars local as a big plus.”

“It’s an idea that has been on the table for a while,” said Andie Dean, PRMC director of community relations.

The idea became viable when Travis Eck, whose company owned both of the laundromat locations in Pratt, decided to shut down the one at 820 West Frist Street in 2019.

“We felt our 1st Street Laundromat located in the plaza at First Street and Ninnescah could handle Pratt’s needs,” Eck said.

PRMC purchased the West Main laundromat last year and is now in full operation with expectations of laundering an estimated 164,000-plus pounds of bedsheets, towels and other items with ability to meet strict state regulations concerning water temperature and sterilization practices relating to infection control.

PRMC Direction of Quality and Infection Control Paul Carrington said one of the updates with the in-house laundering practice includes use of ozone which allows for shorter laundering time and provides better sterilization.

“This allows staff to finish a whole load of laundry in 35 minutes, from start to finish,” Carrington said.

The in-house laundry service is projected to result in an estimated annual savings of $100,000 for the PRMC budget, according to Dean.

“Paul is the one who really felt the passion for this and did a lot of the leg work to get this going,” Dean said.

Another plus is that all the linens and other items that are sent to the laundry, come back to PRMC.

“When we sent our laundry to Junction City, we often got back linens that had names of other hospitals on their labels,” Dean said. “Now, besides saving  money, we know our own items are being returned.”