$20 Million Hospital Laundry Plant to Open Near Ashland
A joint venture between OhioHealth and Mount Carmel Health System is poised to make a $20 million area investment with the development of a laundry facility serving OhioHealth Mansfield and Shelby Hospitals as well as other care sites in north central and northeast Ohio.
Central Ohio Medical Textiles (COMTEX) will open a second location next year at a site in Ashland County. The site was selected following a thorough search of Richland and Ashland counties and will be located on 7.6 acres on U.S. 250 near I-71. The location of the new facility will provide easy access to I-71, so the laundry and linen service can meet the needs of customers as far north as Cleveland and as far east as Akron. The new plant is expected to handle more than 19 million pounds of linen in its first year and create up to 100 jobs initially, with future volume and employment numbers expected to increase.
“This is a great opportunity for central Ohio to bring new technology and jobs to north central Ohio,” said Jean M. Halpin, president, OhioHealth Mansfield and Shelby Hospitals. “Patients and families often don’t think about laundry during a hospital stay, but COMTEX ensures that we will have a high quality product, cleaned to perfection, when we need it, to take care of the patients we serve.”
This new site represents the first expansion of COMTEX, a not-for-profit corporation established 14 years ago in Columbus by OhioHealth and Mount Carmel Health systems. COMTEX cleans and distributes linens for a number of health systems, including Mansfield and Shelby Hospitals.
When OhioHealth and Mount Carmel launched COMTEX in 2004, a centralized laundry service replaced in-house laundries at central Ohio hospitals and other care sites. The move enabled COMTEX to hold prices down for clients over the past 14 years.
Last year Mansfield and Shelby Hospitals transitioned from an in-house laundry service to COMTEX in Columbus, allowing the hospitals to save on maintenance and replacement of expensive equipment. COMTEX will enable the hospitals to continue outsourcing their laundry service while adding jobs to the community.
“We are excited about the growth in our laundry and linen service and are bringing 75-100 jobs to north central Ohio,” said COMTEX Board Chairman Heather Brandon. “The $20 million investment is another example of the commitment OhioHealth and Mount Carmel have to the people of Ohio.”
The state-of-the-art plant – to be built from the ground up – will take full advantage of improvements in technology since the Columbus plant opened.
“Linen and laundry service traditionally is one of the most physical jobs in health care, but these modern plants take out the physicality with computer control and equipment that transfers loads from washers to dryers,” said Myles Noel, CEO of COMTEX in Columbus. “Ergonomically-engineered equipment will help associates ease the physical demand of doing laundry at this state-of-the-art new plant.”
The new laundry facility adds to OhioHealth’s substantial investment in north central Ohio — already $140 million since 2014, including an expansion of specialty health care services in Ashland County.
The laundry facility will be required to be accredited by the Healthcare Laundry Association Council (HLAC) and serve as a back-up for services provided by COMTEX in Columbus. Mission statements from each of the two healthcare systems guide treatment of associates by management. “We work really hard to create a culture and climate that is inclusive, fair and welcoming,” said Noel.