It is good news for health care linen rental businesses in the USA as TRSA announces it has secured the signatures of US Representatives Greg Landsman (D-OH-01) and Michael Carey (R-OH-15) as the chief co-signers to a letter to the Department of Health and Human Services Secretary Xavier Becerra. The letter is requesting Secretary Becerra to “examine the feasibility and potential benefits of the increased use of reusable healthcare textiles (HCTs) in hospitals and other medical facilities to protect healthcare workers, address the rising environmental impact of disposables, prepare for future pandemics and potentially provide cost savings”.
This letter is a major step in developing federal policy to require healthcare facilities to maintain an operating stock of reusable healthcare textiles. “This is a huge win for the linen, uniform and facility services industry,” said Kevin Schwalb TRSA’s vice president of Government relations. “Secretary Becerra will be compelled to respond to a congressional Inquiry, which usually leads to a form of federal policy being either legislation or regulation.”
This letter is the culmination of groundwork laid during TRSA’s Legislative Conference in March whereby TRSA members visited congressional offices to request legislators to sign on to the letter. While securing chief co-signers is a major step, TRSA members now need to contact their respective legislators to get them to add their name to the letter. The more names on the letter, the more impact the letter will have at the Department of Health and Human Services, said the Association.
The letter cites the predominance of safe reusable stock in Canada and the UK healthcare sectors: “In the United States, more than 90% of health care PPE and operating room textiles are single use, even though ample supplies of reusable equivalents are available. By comparison, other countries such as Canada and the United Kingdom maintain inventories of 80% reusable health care textiles.3 Studies have found that reusable textiles are every bit as safe—if not safer than—their disposable substitutes.4”
Along with legislation introduced in New York requiring healthcare facilities to maintain a 50% operating stock of reusable textiles, this letter is another victory for TRSA members and reusable healthcare textiles.
3 ‘New Innovations in Reusable OR Textiles’ - Encompass Group LLC - 2020
4 Meredith McQuerry, Elizabeth Easter, and Alex Cao, 2021, “Disposable versus reusable medical gowns: A performance comparison.” American Journal of Infection Control, https://www.arta1.com/wp-content/uploads/2022/07/Disposable-Versus-