AT A GLANCE
FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS (FAQs)
Here are some commonly asked questions about HLAC -- how it’s organized, its purpose and what you can expect from inspection and accreditation.
What is HLAC?
The Healthcare Laundry Accreditation Council (HLAC) is a nonprofit organization that inspects and accredits laundries that process reusable textiles for hospitals, nursing homes and other healthcare facilities – based on the highest, professionally recognized standards for patient safety and infection prevention.
What is HLAC’s mission?
To accredit laundries processing healthcare textiles based on the highest standards for patient safety and infection prevention.
How is HLAC organized?
HLAC has no members. There is a voluntary Board of Directors and a small administrative staff responsible for the day-to-day operations.
Who are the board members?
The 12-member Board of Directors comprises an independent and highly experienced group of professionals – commercial laundry operators, association executives, co-op and on-premise laundry operators, infection control professionals, and representatives of federal government organizations.
What does it mean to be accredited?
HLAC accreditation, which is good for three years, means that a laundry meets HLAC Accreditation Standards. These standards have been documented, published and professionally recognized. Accreditation affirms that a laundry organization that processes healthcare linens has successfully passed an inspection of the following: its facility, policies and procedures, training programs, and its relationships with its healthcare customers.
What are HLAC standards?
HLAC Accreditation Standards have been developed based on federal regulations and guidelines as well as best industry practices. These standards, Accreditation Standards for Processing Reusable Textiles for use in Healthcare Facilities, 2016 Edition, are published here. HLAC Accreditation Standards have been professionally recognized.
What do the standards cover?
The HLAC Accreditation Standards are established as the minimum acceptable practice for the preparation of hygienically clean, reusable healthcare textiles for patient care, implemented and executed by accredited laundry facilities processing reusable healthcare textiles. The HLAC Accreditation Standards document covers the complete textile processing cycle: from handling and transporting to laundering and finishing to customer service. Special attention has been directed to laundry processes directly related to patient safety and OSHA-required practices, including Bloodborne Pathogen Exposure Control Standards. A Part III has been added to the Standards, addressing the surgical pack assembly room and its activities. This section is based on the American National Standards Institute (ANSI)/Association for Advancement of Medical Instrumentation (AAMI) reference regarding reusable surgical textiles processing.
What does it mean for HLAC Accreditation Standards to be professionally recognized?
In March 2015, the Association of periOperative Registered Nurses (AORN) awarded its AORN Seal of Recognition™ to the newly revised HLAC Accreditation Standards covering the complete textile processing cycle for use in healthcare facilities. The AORN Seal of Recognition confirms that the content of the HLAC document has undergone thorough review by AORN and meets the guidelines of the “AORN Perioperative Standards and Recommended Practices.” While not an endorsement, the Seal of Recognition is confirmation that HLAC’s accreditation standards as presented in the document have met AORN standards of excellence in safe patient care. These standards went into effect Jan. 1, 2016 and are available here.
Is Accreditation by HLAC Required?
The fee-based inspection process for HLAC accreditation is entirely voluntary. Leading healthcare laundries, both for-profit and non-profit, aspire to HLAC accreditation.
How much does it cost to become accredited?
The current fee is $5,000 per laundry organization located in the United States and $6,000 per laundry organization located in Canada and Mexico. A non-refundable application fee of $1,000 is due with application and the balance is due prior to the inspection date. A special rate exists for laundry organizations with three or more facilities that are owned by the same organization. To qualify for this special rate, all applications and deposits must be submitted to HLAC Office at the same time. The inspector's travel expenses are also the responsibility of the laundry organization and will be charged after the inspection at actual cost.
Does accreditation require having to invest in new systems and processes to meet requirements?
For the independent laundry, the benefits realized from accreditation – in advancing patient safety, quality improvement, credibility, competitiveness and learning – all combine to outweigh the costs involved. There are money-saving ideas available for sharing and HLAC is available to discuss these ideas with accreditation candidates.
How long does the inspection take?
Inspections take one day. Immediately after the inspection, inspectors provide a brief verbal summary and a formal written report follows from the HLAC.
How long does accreditation last?
Accreditation is active for a three-year period.
What happens if the inspection is failed?
Please refer to the HLAC Accreditation Inspection Process Guide for complete information and details.
Who are the inspectors?
HLAC inspectors are independent contractors who have a wide-range of experience and expertise in the healthcare laundry industry. Each inspector has the knowledge, skills and abilities to effectively process laundry according to established standard processes. HLAC provides the inspectors with in-depth training regarding HLAC Accreditation Standards.