The American Society for Healthcare Engineering (ASHE) advocacy team works to monitor and unify the many overlapping codes and standards that affect health care facilities. It strives to maintain a proactive advocacy position in support of regulations that are backed by data and make sense for health care. Some of the key accomplishments over the last several years have been:
- Humidity and air-change requirements. Working with the Association for the Advancement of Medical Instrumentation, ASHRAE, the Association of periOperative Registered Nurses, the Association for Professionals in Infection Control and Epidemiology, the Facility Guidelines Institute and the Joint Commission, ASHE helped to align the various standards that regulate temperature and humidity requirements in operating rooms and sterile processing departments. This alignment has been coordinated in the latest editions of the documents produced by these organizations.
- Water management and sustainable facilities. ASHE has worked with a variety of ASHRAE committees to align ASHRAE standards with existing utility-management standards.
- Emergency management. ASHE worked through the public comment process using data it had collected on emergency power systems to encourage the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services to eliminate a requirement for an annual four-hour generator test.
- Alignment of the International Code Council (ICC) codes with National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) codes. Through the ICC Committee on Healthcare, hundreds of code-change proposals have been submitted to align the ICC health care code requirements with those of the NFPA, especially the Life Safety Code. A recent evaluation of the work performed over the last several years shows an alignment of more than 90 percent.
While a lot of good work has been accomplished, there is still more to do. Watch upcoming Advocacy Adviser columns to find out how you can become part of the team to bring about the future unification of health care codes and standards. HFM
Jonathan Flannery, MHSA, CHFM, FASHE, FACHE, ASHE senior associate director of advocacy