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Cleaning UpHow Hospital Outsourcing Is Hurting Workers and Endangering Patients$
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Dan Zuberi

Print publication date: 2013

Print ISBN-13: 9780801450723

Published to Cornell Scholarship Online: August 2016

DOI: 10.7591/cornell/9780801450723.001.0001

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Germs, Blood, and Cost-Cutting

Germs, Blood, and Cost-Cutting

The Daily Struggle to Keep Hospitals Clean

(p.19) 2 Germs, Blood, and Cost-Cutting
Cleaning Up

Dan Zuberi

Cornell University Press

This chapter explores the netherworld of contracted support workers who, while working alongside doctors, nurses, and other professional staff in hospitals, remain largely on the fringes of the health care system. Even though experts in public safety have recognized for years that hospitals simply are not clean enough, few have ever taken a close look at the people on the front lines of hospital cleanliness—the workers in charge of mopping floors, wiping down countertops, and disinfecting doorknobs. In an age of budget cuts, many hospitals are saving money by outsourcing their cleaning staff to outside companies that do not necessarily have a hospital-grade dedication to hygiene. Contract workers are often underpaid, undermotivated, and overworked—a combination that could have dangerous consequences for patient health.

Keywords:   contract workers, hospital hygiene, public safety, patient health, hospital cleanliness, cleaning staff, budget cuts

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