Article Images

Akron Children’s Hospital worked with Siemens to develop a systemwide life and fire safety compliance program.

Photo courtesy of Akron Children’s Hospital

From humble beginnings as a day nursery in 1890, Akron (Ohio) Children’s Hospital is now one of the largest independent pediatric hospitals in the U.S. The hospital provides care for nearly 1 million patients each year at two campuses and a large network of outpatient facilities offering primary and specialty care.

The hospital drives advances in health care for all children and communities through expert medical care, research, and prevention and wellness programs and has earned an independent ranking as one of the best children’s hospitals in the nation. The high standards for clinical care carry over to how the facilities in the system are operated. 

Project profile

FACILITY //Akron (Ohio) Children’s Hospital 

CHALLENGE // Compliance with Joint Commission EC.02.03.05, EP 1-27

SOLUTION // Siemens’ fire and life safety compliance program

After three successful years of managing a systemwide compliance program at a nearby health system, Betsy Pooley, director of facility maintenance and safety, set out to ensure that Akron Children’s Hospital’s fire and life safety systems were operable and compliant. She turned to Siemens’ Building Technologies Division for expert assistance. 

Pooley relied on the company’s fire and life safety compliance program and trusted it to manage and maintain the fire and life safety systems in all buildings across the hospital’s vast facility portfolio, spanning 60 locations regionally. Pooley worked with Suzan Virosteck, Siemens’ senior account executive for fire and security, and health care accreditation specialist for compliance.  

This service is one part of Siemens’ Healthcare Accreditation Program, created eight years ago and used by more than 500 customers nationally. Customers partner with Siemens to comply with prevailing standards set by the Joint Commission and other accrediting agencies, including Det Norske Veritas Healthcare Inc. and the Healthcare Facilities Accreditation Program. 

The program helps hospitals to comply with all necessary reporting requirements, including National Fire Protection Association standards, local fire codes, and state and federal health care accreditation standards for the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services. The program also ensures that all reports and documentation are organized properly.

The company has developed a binder with reports containing fire and life safety systems tests that are standardized to meet the Joint Commission’s documentation requirement of EC.02.03.05, EP 1-27.

“Facilities directors appreciate having the documentation presented to them in an organized fashion,” says Dino Coliano, North American business leader for health care at Siemens’ Building Technologies Division. “This makes it easier for them to stay prepared as well as discuss their compliance program to a potential surveyor.” 

“Staff resources at a hospital are often limited, which prevents the hospital from self-performing inspections. Additionally, proper training and certification is required to perform certain inspections,” Virosteck says. 

In addition to having the staff to perform the work, a comprehensive testing and inspection process is time-consuming, she says. The inspection process typically includes fire alarms, sprinkler systems, portable extinguishers, fire doors and more. 

Virosteck developed a customized, all-encompassing compliance and service delivery program for Akron Children’s Hospital. The program was simple and straightforward: to ensure consistent and ongoing regulatory compliance, maintain frequent communication with the facility’s staff and resolve deficiencies quickly. Siemens’ program helps the hospital to organize, manage and track reporting requirements for accreditation with Joint Commission EC.02.03.05. 

In addition, Siemens’ technicians provide weekly service delivery and problem resolution in concert with hospital staff. This comprehensive solution not only covers the competitive fire alarm equipment, Siemens also manages the extensive testing, inspection and maintenance of the hospital’s on-site sprinkler systems, fire pumps, portable fire extinguishers and kitchen hood systems. 

“Siemens performs, at a minimum, quarterly reviews of the hospital’s documentation,” Virosteck says. “We understand the critical nature of documentation as stated in the Joint Commission requirements and work diligently to ensure that the hospital is able to maintain compliance.”