Signature Service branches out: Booming business will plant 1,208 trees
By KYRA LOW
Federal Way Mirror Reporter
May 7, 2010 · Updated 2:32 PM
Business is growing at Signature Service in Federal Way.
The office, which was the first branch in Washington state, has had more than a 150 percent increase in business the past year. The company provides a variety of services based in home health care and has seen an increase in business during one of the roughest economies in U.S. history.
In addition to growth, the business is moving toward negating its carbon footprint — and has begun planting trees for every patient.
Depending on the numbers you look at, the office has seen an increase of 150-300 percent in the last year, administrator Mary Surdez said.
"It's an accomplishment," Surdez said.
Surdez believes the increase in business shows how in-home care is more efficient and cost-effective than other types of medical care.
For most of Signature's patients, who are on Medicare part A, there is no cost to the patient. The care is all covered, making it much more affordable than a hospital or full-care nursing home.
"Why not be in your own home setting?" Surdez said. "It just make sense."
Signature Service started in Federal Way six years ago.
They started expanding three years ago, branching out else where in King, Pierce and now Kitsap counties. However, the Federal Way office remains the largest and the flagship for the company.
The Federal Way office is also the only company that is moving to a greener approach.
The Signature Green Care, as the program is called, first started getting under way last fall. On April 5, the company launched the program, giving out about 100 trees at a Federal Way Chamber of Commerce function.
There will be 1,208 trees planted for the patients in 2009. This year, the company expects to plant between 1,800 and 2,000 trees for the patients.
The idea started when Surdez and her director were driving to a meeting. Looking around, Surdez got to thinking: "Wouldn't it be nice if we could erase our carbon footprint since we have to drive everywhere?" she said.
Signature Service plans on working with the Stream Dream Team and other local groups to plant trees where they are needed. For the trees handed out at the April 5 ribbon cutting, Signature used blue spruce and noble pine. However, the company will plant leafier trees near the streams — whatever the environmental group chooses. The company plans to plant the trees in the areas it serves in King, Pierce and Kitsap counties.
The office is also going green inside with recycling and reusable utensils. The office is working now to go paperless in the next few months. Surdez expects paper use to be at an "extreme minimum" by September.
"For an office that goes through 40 reams of paper a month, that's a nice change," Surdez said.
Surdez said the office has already heard back great things about Signature Green Care, including praise from the Arbor Day Foundation.Contact Federal Way Mirror Reporter Kyra Low at email@example.com or (253) 925-5565.