In the summer of 1988, national news headlines blazed accounts of hazardous medical waste strewn along the Atlantic coastline. Public reaction ranged from fear to rage as beaches from New Jersey and New York north into New England were fouled by masses of discarded syringes, blood vials and bags of contaminated dressings and other medical refuse. These reports only added drama to a condition that was already growing to critical proportions, presenting the entire healthcare industry with a confounding problem: how can safe, effective disposal methods be applied to facilities that produce medical wastes? The answer was made more difficult by the diverse number and kinds of facilities that include hospitals, clinics, doctor's offices, nursing homes, blood banks, dialysis clinics, dentists, veterinarians, undertakers and a variety of laboratories and research facilities.
Government regulations, at that point, sometimes proved counterproductive and actually did little to discouraged illicit dumping. And the kinds and extent of dangers posed by such dumping stretched beyond the scope of local public health agencies to ultimately become the concern for the federal Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).
The results of a long-term pilot project between the EPA and the states of New York and New Jersey have resulted in a proposed new set of federal regulations. Enactment has resulted in a far more comprehensive set of laws backed by stiffer penalties.
The Atlantic beaches incident, and others, pointed to the fact that illegal dumping would have its greatest impact on wilderness areas. Sparsely populated regions are inviting targets for the disposal of any undesirable waste material since dumping is less likely to be witnessed and the waste may go undiscovered long enough to let the culprits make a getaway.
Concerned that it was only a matter of time before illegal medical waste dumping would turn up in Kentucky, a local firm acted to address the issue head-on. The diversified nonprofit healthcare organization adopted a business plan developed by in house management led by Robert Ford, who became Vice President of the subsidiary company.
With Robert G. Ford as Vice President, the company set out to provide a comprehensive medical waste management service to healthcare facilities in the region. Career healthcare specialists and the CEO of a local Regional Medical Center supported Mr. Ford's groundwork development. Mr. Ford utilized his service in hospital operations, safety, risk management and environmental services management at the hospital since 1981 and his responsibility for the hospital's medical waste program from 1988 through 1997 to address the concerns of health care providers.
Because of the hospital's rapidly growing requirements and because of impending regulations, a new approach was needed to addressing medical waste. In January 1989, the company began development of a state-of-the-art management and disposal system based on EPA guidelines.
Services, initially offered in a 16-county region of Kentucky, included consultation and training for customers, the availability of a range of special packaging materials, a waste collection service and a high-tech incinerator/autoclave. At the core of the system is a tracking and documentation procedure that records the processing of every ounce of waste from start to finish.
Initial studies showed that no other service was addressing medical waste problems as a comprehensive healthcare management issue. It was correctly anticipated that upcoming state legislation would close landfill sites to untreated medical waste and that existing municipal and hospital incinerators would not meet air quality standards.
The company's reputation for effective program management in this highly specialized field has grown dramatically. In late 1989, Robert Ford was invited to serve as technical consultants to the Kentucky State legislature in the drafting of new regulations. He was also invited by the Kentucky Hospital Association to consult on legislative issues and regulatory impact studies.
In the spring of 1997 Robert Ford and David Payne created a new medical waste company in Louisville Kentucky, DaRob, Inc. Medical Waste Services. The company as part of its growth strategy to expand its services across the entire state of Kentucky and beyond, has developed or is developing the necessary supporting programs that offer an all encompassing approach for health care facilities to address their medical waste needs:
DaRob is currently capable of providing a consulting service on a broad scale, assisting with analysis, costing, program initiation, in-service training, and treatment equipment evaluation management. Contact DaRob Medical Waste Services to learn more about how we can help you.