Average hospital laundry and linen expenses
Maintaining clean hospital facilities and managing infection control includes ensuring a constant supply of fresh and sanitized medical linens such as hospital bedding, patient gowns and garments, and medical professional attire.
Hospital laundry and linen services may be performed in-house at the hospital or by outside contractors such as hospital linen suppliers or medical suppliers.
In this Healthcare Insight, we review average laundry and linen expenses at U.S. hospitals and compare metrics by hospital bed size and location. Data used in this analysis is from the October 2022 Medicare Cost Report release.
What is the average hospital laundry and linen expense?
Based on data from more than 4,700 hospitals in the Definitive Healthcare HospitalView product, the average annual cost of hospital laundry services for U.S. hospitals is nearly $497,000. The total amount spent across U.S. hospitals for laundry and linen services was nearly $2.4 billion in 2021, the most recent full year of data available.
Average laundry and linen expenses at U.S. hospitals
How much do hospital laundry and linen expenses increase each year?
Costs associated with laundry and medical linen services at U.S. hospitals have increased by about 1.5% on average from 2017 to 2021. In comparison, total hospital operating expenses increase by about 5% each year.
Average laundry and linen expense by hospital bed size
Hospitals with more than 250 beds have the highest average laundry and linen expenses at $1.7 million. The high number of hospital beds means these hospitals have more hospital bedding to provide, clean, and service. In addition, due to higher volumes of patient discharges, these hospitals have more medical linen used by the patients that need to be cleaned frequently.
Average laundry and linen expense by region
The average laundry and linen expenses are highest for hospitals in the Northeast at close to $800,000. A number of hospitals with the overall highest laundry and linen expenses are in the northeastern U.S. This region also has higher expenses compared to other regions including higher average salary expenses and IT expenses.
Hospitals in the northeast tend to be larger hospitals – 181 average beds compared to 131 nationally – contributing to the higher expenses. Northeastern hospitals also see more patients. Their annual average patient discharges are 7,845 while the national average is 5,412. And the higher discharges are likely because the hospitals support patients in the large cities of the region, such as New York City and Boston.
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