The American Society for Health Care Engineering’s (ASHE’s) advocacy staff works every day to help improve the regulatory environment surrounding health care facilities, but they can’t do everything alone. They count on the help of ASHE members.
One way members can get involved is by becoming an “interested party” when ASHE advocates for a change or addition to a code. An interested party joins the calls of a group working on code revisions and expresses an opinion about the issue at hand. This helps the group understand the issue from a front-line perspective.
“Being an interested party is a good way to become involved with the committee without being an official member,” says Jeff O’Neill, AIA, ACHA, CHFM, co-chair of the International Code Council Committee on Healthcare and senior director of facilities at Penn Medicine’s Pennsylvania Hospital. “If someone is interested in doing this, they can contact me or [ASHE’s Senior Associate Director of Advocacy] Jonathan Flannery.”
Another way ASHE members can help is by monitoring the regulatory environment in their states and getting involved when needed.
In Massachusetts, for example, a regulation was proposed that would require video monitoring of the outside of locked exterior doors of hospitals, so that if a patient presented to a locked door and could not get in, someone would go to that person’s aid. This was proposed after a woman died because she was unable to find an unlocked hospital door.
“Our advocacy liaison in Massachusetts from the New England Healthcare Engineers’ Society has been monitoring this,” says Flannery, MHSA, CHFM, FASHE, FACHE. “They consulted with us so that we could make sure the language in the regulation was science-based and well written, and now the law is going across the country. It’s just worked out great.”
Finally, members can participate in ASHE’s research that informs advocacy issues. For example, the ASHE COVID Response Tactics Sharing (CRTS) survey is still open. Members can contribute data from their facilities by visiting
research.net/r/ASHE_CRTS_HFM. Members interested in participating in other ASHE applied research that informs advocacy can email firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.