TRSA hosted its 13th Annual Legislative Conference in Washington, D.C. March 22-23. In addition to attending committee meetings, networking events, briefings and receptions, association members participated in TRSA’s annual Hill Day, which included a total of 93 in-person meetings with federal lawmakers and staff.
Representing the linen, uniform and facility services industry, TRSA operator and supplier partner member executives advanced TRSA’s advocacy agenda by calling for action on various priorities impacting the industry, with a focus on two top issues:
- The need to ensure that healthcare staff are properly protected at work by requiring hospitals, healthcare facilities and other outpatient clinics to maintain minimum levels of reusable healthcare textile personal protective equipment (PPE) as a counterbalance to disposable equivalents.
- The need to maximize infection prevention by requiring hygienic laundering of healthcare uniforms by certified linen, uniform and facility services businesses.
The group educated legislators on the importance of professionally laundered, hygienically clean Healthcare Personnel Attire (HPA) and provided evidence that supports the essential need to manage potentially contaminated fabrics within a controlled environment to mitigate cross contamination risks. This led to their call to establish requirements for healthcare facilities to provide HPAs for all healthcare workers per shift as well as the need for healthcare workers to leave soiled HPAs at their facilities.
TRSA members also described careful monitoring of industrial processes at their companies and the stringent requirements of TRSA’s Hygienically Clean certification, which recognizes companies’ commitment to cleanliness through third-party, biological testing and inspection. Instead of allowing healthcare uniforms to be worn and washed at home, this process eliminates subjectivity around various individual standards for “clean” by focusing on results that verify textiles cleaned in these facilities meet appropriate hygienically clean standards and established industry guidelines, policies and procedures.
TRSA Hill Day attendees urged members of Congress to co-sign a letter to the Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) Secretary Xavier Bacerra to examine how DHHS can ensure that healthcare facilities maintain a greater balance of reusable PPE to better protect healthcare staff members and the environment from the harmful impacts of disposables. The increased supply of reusable healthcare textiles ensures healthcare providers are better prepared for the possibility of future pandemics.
“The meetings on the Hill were engaging, well organized and productive in my opinion,” said Jim Kearns, executive vice president/CFO, Alsco Uniforms, Salt Lake City, and chair of TRSA’s Board.
Kevin Schwalb, TRSA’s vice president of government relations, briefed the members on TRSA’s key legislative issues before they departed for their meetings on Capitol Hill. Attendees were also well versed on the current political landscape after attending the previous day’s keynote speech from Bob Cusack, editor in chief of The Hill, as well as the Hill Day Issue Briefing featuring policy directors from Brownstein Hyatt Faber Schreck LLP, Brian Wild and Drew Littman.