If the health facilities field is to become more proactive in driving down costs and increasing the focus on improving the patient experience, the solution is simple: Hospital leaders must be beyond supportive and push their facilities management teams to get involved in advocacy efforts.
Dave Dagenais, CHSP, CHFM, American Society for Health Care Engineering (ASHE) past president, put it perfectly in a webinar in December 2016: “If the state was getting ready to pass some new bills or legislation that would increase the taxes the hospital had to pay to the state, I can guarantee each and every one of you that your CFO would be at those budget hearings expressing their concerns around that increased tax. That’s an expectation of their role that that’s what they do to reduce cost for the hospital.
“I would suggest we in our role as facilities managers have a similar responsibility to our organizations and that’s to advocate against costs that may exist within codes and standards,” Dagenais continued. “Whether we call it cost avoidance or cost savings, at the end of the day it’s really changing the concept of waiting for the code to come out and figuring out how much it’s going to cost us to really preventing the code from coming out so it doesn’t cost us.”
ASHE has created a way for everyone to make an impact and get involved. Facilities professionals can access a form for signing up to volunteer in various aspects with ASHE’s regulatory affairs committee.
Facilities teams that have voting members can attend the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) Technical Meeting and vote. If funding prevents attendance, they can sign up to serve on an NFPA committee or sign up to write an article for Health Facilities Management.
If time prevents committee participation, facilities professionals can become a guard for the codes and sign up to watch for code updates and send the regulatory affairs committee a summary of the updates.
All can contribute and, together, change will happen.