While the majority of Health Facilities Management’s readers are consumed with designing, building and operating the nation’s hospitals and other health care facilities, they also go to great lengths to align their roles and tasks to the overall vision and mission set forth by each of their health care organizations.

Although the relationship between their everyday jobs and the organization’s overarching purpose can sometimes seem obscure, it often becomes apparent after close examination. Take the issue of ensuring access to care for vulnerable rural and urban communities. At first glance, the health facilities professional’s role wouldn’t immediately be clear. However, when various strategies and options are explored, it’s impossible to miss the connections.

Indeed, a number of measures that have a direct impact on HFM’s readers recently were released by the American Hospital Association’s Task Force on Ensuring Access in Vulnerable Communities as a menu of nine emerging strategies to help preserve access to health care services.

The one most clearly relevant to health facilities professionals is called the inpatient/outpatient transformation strategy, which involves a hospital reducing inpatient capacity to a level that closely reflects the needs of the community, then enhancing the outpatient and primary care services. For example, a case study on Carolinas HealthCare System Anson in Wadesboro, N.C., recounts how the organization replaced an existing hospital with a new facility that reduced inpatient capacity and allowed the hospital to offer expanded outpatient and primary care.

Other strategies for which HFM’s readers can play a role are emergency medical centers, which allow existing facilities to meet a community’s need for emergency and outpatient services; urgent care centers, which allow existing facilities to maintain an access point for urgent medical conditions that can be treated on an outpatient basis; and virtual care strategies, which use technology infrastructure to maintain or supplement access to health care services.

To learn more about strategies for providing care to vulnerable communities and how they may affect your career, read the report. The connections are clearer than you think.