Surprise state inspection finds linen storage issue at UPMC Shadyside

UPMC Shadyside in Pittsburgh did not store clean and soiled linen according to proper standards, according to the findings of an unannounced inspection conducted by the Pennsylvania Department of Health.

The inspection occurred Feb. 17 and the documents were recently released online.

The inspection comes as UPMC and Paris Cleaners, its linen service provider, are involved in multiple lawsuits brought by families affected by a mold outbreak that may have been caused by mold on linens. The outbreak contributed to the deaths of at least five patients at UPMC hospitals and caused the system to temporarily shut down its transplant program in 2015.

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Per the February state inspection report, linen should be sorted and stored in negative pressure rooms with special air exchanges, but investigators "revealed that neither the clean or soiled linens were being stored according to standards."

UPMC Shadyside issued a plan of correction to the state health department and plans to renovate storage areas for soiled and clean linens — the hospital expects construction to be completed by Sept. 1. In the interim, UPMC is educating staff and taking other actions to bring linen storage into compliance.

"Patient safety is our top priority and we always strive to be in compliance with state and federal regulations," a statement from UPMC emailed to Becker's reads. "We welcome health officials into our facilities and appreciate their guidance. When issues are found, we move quickly to make corrections, as we have in this case."

Brendan Lupetin, an attorney who represents some of the families affected by the outbreak, told Trib Live he is "shocked and saddened to learn of these ongoing deficiencies with the laundry and linens at UPMC … This mess needs to be cleaned up for the patients' sake."

More articles on hospital linens:
Op-ed: Commercial laundries serve hospitals safely and effectively
Laundry provider responds in UPMC mold case: 9 things to know
Penn Highlands Healthcare forms 'linen team' after UPMC mold report

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