Elite Facility Systems, a Dallas-based firm specializing in caring for medical, dental and health facilities, once cleaned office buildings. At least, until Tricia Holderman, its owner, president and CEO, fell ill and began spending considerable time in healthcare facilities.

While receiving care, she says she started looking at how cleaning was performed at hospitals and decided to focus Elite’s efforts in healthcare.

Today the BSC only cleans healthcare facilities, and as an offshoot of this role, has established niche markets in the industry, too. The company is viewed by its clients as an extension of the healthcare system itself and that has led to new opportunities, Holderman explains.

In fact, when hospitals lose their director of environmental services, Holderman is often tapped to step in as their interim director.

“Doing this let me see how things work behind the scenes,” she says. “I’ve learned that the situation over the last couple of years is very unique. Healthcare facilities are putting off refilling positions for as long as they possibly can.”

Seeing their challenges in this way helped Holderman position Elite Facility Systems to fill in the gaps as needed. The company has found a specialty in performing project work for hospitals, which keep their in-house staff assigned to maintaining patient rooms, offices and lobby areas. When these facilities fall behind on their detail cleaning they come to Elite for help.

“When longer-term patients are moved from ICU either to a room, X-ray or surgery, we come in and do the detail cleaning,” Holderman says. “That includes washing walls, cleaning windows, changing the privacy curtains and so on. That kind of detail work is time consuming and when hospitals do not have enough full-time equivalents (FTEs) on staff, they bring in contractors to perform this specialty work.”

Elite also cleans their operating rooms and emergency rooms — tasks often done on third shift.

“Many hospitals are outsourcing their third shift work because it’s too hard to hire third shift employees,” Holderman explains. “They are not finding quality people to fill those jobs.”

Outsourcing benefits hospitals because the money to pay contractors comes out of a different budget than their FTEs. Every environmental services department budgets for a certain number of FTEs.

“As FTEs are cut, they’re able to add people on the contracting side,” she says. “There is no other way for them to keep these buildings clean and viable, other than bringing in a contractor.”

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