Advocacy is at the very core of ASHE's mission. The ASHE advocacy team speaks out on issues members care about and offers suggestions — based on member exper­ience in the field — for improving the health care-built environment to the people who make decisions about operating and regulating that environment. As ASHE defines it, advocacy takes place on a continuum and can take many forms and occur at many levels, including personal advocacy, advocacy for others and advocacy in the public interest.

To help identify issues to be addressed in its advocacy efforts and to gauge the breadth of interest in those issues, ASHE recently published a Web page where members and others in the industry can voice frustrations about code compliance. The Code Reform Initiative page can be found by logging on to Input is needed from those in the field to help quantify the overall resources (both capital and human) that health care organizations are spending unnecessarily because of the following:

  • Misinterpretations and misapplications of codes and standards;
  • Inappropriate enforcement by local, state, federal or private organizations;
  • Enforcement conflicts between the National Fire Protection Association and the International Code Council standards;
  • Design conflicts caused by requirements to apply codes and standards from multiple organizations;
  • Design conflicts caused by requirements to apply older versions of the Life Safety Code and its referenced documents;
  • Other critical issues that impact the design, maintenance and testing of our health care facilities.

Today's health care environment is subject to requirements from the local to the national levels. ASHE works for systemwide change at the federal level — based on the best evidence — to improve how the nation researches, finances and delivers quality patient care in our members' world-class health care facilities. At the state level, ASHE is committed to working with authorities having jurisdiction to achieve sensible enforcement of health care codes and standards.

ASHE members are encouraged to actively participate and contribute to ASHE's Code Reform Initiative.

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Resources available

ASHE offers a number of valuable resources at special prices to professionals in the industry. They include the following:

• Guidelines for Design and Construction of Health Care Facilities. The 2010 guidelines cover minimum program, space and design needs for all clinical and support areas of hospitals, nursing facilities, freestanding psychiatric facilities, outpatient and rehabilitation facilities, and long-term care facilities. It includes new material on acoustics, patient handling and movement, patient safety, bariatric patient care, cancer treatment and emergency services.

• Health Facility Commissioning Guidelines. Written by health care professionals, this resource helps optimize construction or renovation delivery. It enables project teams to deliver cost-effective and efficient health care facilities that yield the desired return on investment. The guidelines can help ensure a successful transition from construction completion to sustainable, high-performance operation.

For information on purchasing either of these valuable references, go to