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Western Maine Health Installs Reusable Sharps Containers

Western Maine Health President and CEO Timothy A. Churchill, President and CEO of Western Maine Health announced recently that Stephens Memorial Hospital has begun implementing the use of reusable sharps containers.  The reusable sharps program is part of Western Maine Health's commitment as a participating member of the Maine Hospitals for a Healthy Environment.

Stephens Memorial Hospital is one of the first MaineHealth facilities to begin the program since the Maine Hospital Association opened a waste management facility in Pittsfield, Maine, managed by Oxus.  This new facility allows for proper sanitizing and disposal of sharps within the state; reusable sharps containers have been in use in other parts of the country for some time.
Sharps containers safely store biological waste before it is disposed of.  Last year 2,333 red sharps containers were used at the hospital; with the implementation of the reusable containers 5,081 lbs less of waste will be going into the waste management stream.   These changes will provide cost savings in supply budgets, shipping and waste disposal, and ease the labor involved from environmental services and engineering perspectives to prepare the units for shipping.  There is also an increased safety measure with the containers, which have larger openings and will help reduce potential exposures to blood or bodily fluids. 

The previous containers will be disposed of when they are full and replaced with the new containers.  When the new units are full they will sent to the company for cleaning and sterilization before being returned for reuse. 

The use of reusable sharps containers has begun at the hospital; however, plans for the Western Maine Health physician practices and the Market Square Health Care Center are also in process and will soon be put into practice as well. 


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