Northwest Health Care Linen Signs Six-Year Contract

Bellingham, WA – A Bellingham linen service company has signed a large contract that could mean an additional 25 jobs in this area.

Northwest Health Care Linen recently signed a six-year contract with Franciscan Health System. The Bellingham company will provide medical laundry service to the south Puget Sound region for the non-profit organization. Franciscan Health operates a variety of medical facilities, including five full-service hospitals, medical groups and surgery centers in Tacoma, Federal Way, Lakewood, Enumclaw and Gig Harbor.

The contract will grow incrementally as Franciscan phases out existing contracts with other companies, said Bill Akers, vice president of customer relations for the company. Once the contract is fully in place, it’ll mean an extra six million pounds of linen serviced annually. Before the contract was signed, the Northwest Health Care Linen was doing about 13 million pounds of linen a year.

Akers expects the 25 additional jobs in production and transportation to be phased in within a year, increasing the company’s workforce to 140. The company won’t have to make changes to its facility to handle the extra workload because of a remodel in 2002 that tripled the size of the facility.

“That’s the great thing about this is we have plenty of extra capacity,” said Akers, adding that it will also bring money into Whatcom County.

The remodel in 2002 also increased the energy efficiency of the company. The process requires 60 percent less water than before the remodel, Akers said, also requiring less energy to heat the water.

Northwest Health Care Linen’s service area stretches from Bellingham to Olympia, from single-provider practices to hospitals.

Dave Gallagher, The Bellingham Herald