Since opening June 1, a $48 million laundry facility in downtown Detroit shared by three health systems has been running two shifts over a six-day work week.
With COVID-19 cases on the rise in Michigan and flu season approaching, health care executives said in a Wednesday morning news conference that demand for clean laundry has become even more important. Each week, the 115,000-square-foot facility is expected to wash, press and fold 700,000 pounds of laundry.
In 2019, Henry Ford Health System in Detroit, Michigan Medicine and Saint Joseph Mercy Health System, both based in Ann Arbor, agreed to invest in an eco-friendly laundry facility. It is located on a 10-acre industrial site at 1150 Elijah McCoy Drive, near the Henry Ford Hospital campus, north of I-94 and west of the Lodge Freeway.
Henry Ford Health acquired the longtime vacant parcel in the Northwest Goldberg neighborhood in 2017.
"Our collaboration is a true model for how health care institutions can work together to achieve efficiencies and spur economic renewal in our region," Bob Riney, Henry Ford's president of health care operations and COO, said in a statement. "Laundry service is critical to our everyday operations for our patients and team members, and this investment will have meaningful impact for years to come."
"We've already seen the benefits of partnering with peer health systems to improve service and reduce costs," Tony Denton, senior vice president and COO of the U-M Health System for Michigan Medicine, said in a statement. "I am proud of our collective efforts to invest in a modern facility, new jobs and to provide highly reliable service. Locating the facility in Detroit supports U-M's commitment to the city. While it all takes place behind the scenes, laundry and linen services are essential to the daily provision of health care services, with emphasis on patient and caregiver safety."
The facility employs about 150 workers, 83 of whom are new hires. All positions pay competitive wages with health care and retirement benefits. Effective Nov. 1, new hires will earn an hourly rate of $15.04 after a 90-day probationary period.
"Laundry may not seem like an exciting thing, but this project is so good for our city in so many ways. It's making sure our front-line health care workers and the patients they serve have gowns and linens cleaned to the highest standards as we battle COVID-19," Detroit Mayor Mike Duggan said in a statement. "It also has taken another parcel of vacant land and put it back to productive use that benefits the community and employs more Detroiters."
The laundry facility is owned and operated by Metropolitan Detroit Area Hospital Services, a Michigan nonprofit corporation founded by the hospital systems.
"This laundry facility illustrates how the health care industry can come together to share efficiencies that lower the cost of health care, and ultimately, improve patient experience," Rob Casalou, president and CEO, Trinity Health Michigan, said in a statement. Saint Joseph Mercy Health system is one of two divisions of Livonia-based Trinity Health Michigan.
"Some of the employees at the facility have worked there for decades, and we are thrilled that this facility is now providing more jobs in a state-of-the-art, safe work environment in Detroit."