ORGANIZATIONAL DEFINITIONS IN CENTRAL MATERIEL SERVICE
a. Central Materiel Service. Central materiel service is an organizational
element of the Nursing Department (charged with the responsibility of processing
supplies and equipment used in giving patient care) in a US Army medical treatment
b. Using Elements. Using elements are departments; services; nursing units
(wards); clinics; operating, emergency, and delivery rooms within the hospital; troop
medical clinics; and other medical facilities within the Army medicaldepartment activity
(MEDDAC) or Army Medical Center (MEDCEN).
c. Unit. A packaged item that is prepared by CMS is a unit. The packaging
material may include such things as plastic, cloth, or paper. For example; a packaged
syringe is one unit, a packaged tray is one unit, and a linen pack is one unit.
d. Processing. Preparing supplies and equipment for patient care is called
processing. There are a number of steps and procedures in processing. These
procedures will be discussed in detail in later lessons of this subcourse. A brief
description of each step in processing follows.
(1) Collecting. Central materiel service is responsible for picking up
reusable supplies and equipment from the using units on a regularly scheduled basis for
return to CMS. This is called collecting.
(2) Receiving and sorting. Central materiel service receives all soiled and
outdated articles in the cleanup area. The initial (first) sorting by type such as
instruments, basins, and glassware is done in this receiving area in preparation for
(3) Decontaminating. Decontamination is making the article safe for further
handling by personnel. This is generally done by machine, such as the
washer-sterilizer- decontaminator or autoclave. In certain cases, it may be done by
hand using a glove technique and scrubbing with a detergent disinfectant.
(4) Cleaning. Cleaning involves the removing of all matter in which
microbial life may find favorable conditions for continued life and growth. Cleaning may
be done by hand, scrubbing with hot water and detergent or by machine such as a
(5) Preparing. Preparing includes inspecting, assembling, testing,
wrapping, and labeling of medical supplies for further processing.
(6) Sterilizing. Sterilizing involves loading items into the sterilizer as
directed, operating the sterilizer and observing for proper operation, unloading and
dating the sterile items, and placing the load number on each item. Records of
sterilizing procedures must be kept.