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Independence, Iowa

Keywords: Laundry Services, Failed Contract

Laundry Services

Laundry services at the Independence Mental Health Institute in Independence, Iowa, were brought back in-house earlier this year following three to four years with City Laundry of Oline, Iowa, a large regional laundry service.

Managers at the facility thought that the private contract could save the state money, since continuing to provide the service in-house would have required the institute to replace its aging washers and dryers. The substantial savings promised by the private contractor were never realized, however.

The Mental Health Institute paid for the laundry service based on the weight of each load. Yet the private contractor charged the facility based on the weight of the load when the laundry was wet, not dry, as the Institute had expected. In addition, slow turn-around times resulted in the facility having to purchase an additional set of linens in order to have sufficient stock on hand to cover the laundry rotation.

The facility had to purchase new equipment in order to bring the service back in-house. Managers were reluctant to buy new machines because of the high cost of industrial washers and dryers, but knew that the one-time expense would be worth it over the long run.

Since bringing the service back in, service quality has improved tremendously. The facility has hired three new employees to run the service.