A great gift would be for the code writing community to come together in 2011 to review building and fire code requirements, look at how trends in health care have changed, use science and data to rewrite antiquated language, remove excessive requirements that are not providing additional safety and have one health care code that applies from the local level to the federal level.

Well your wish just may have come true.

ASHE's leadership and staff are working with national health care leaders, codes officials, codes consultants and ASHE members to bring this wish to reality.

In July, ASHE signed an agreement with the International Code Council (ICC) to work jointly on re-evaluating and recommending changes to the 2015 editions of the International Building Code (IBC) and International Fire Code (IFC). This joint effort was supported by both the ICC and ASHE board of directors and is seen as a historic step in developing the most contemporary, effective and efficient provisions for hospital and ambulatory care facilities. In late October, ICC announced a call for committee — ICC Ad Hoc Committee on Healthcare. This 15-member committee representing ICC and ASHE will prepare a series of code changes to be entered into the 2015 code cycle.

Another excellent gift would be for the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) and the Joint Commission to follow the most current edition of the National Fire Protection Association Life Safety Code. Efforts are underway by the American Hospital Association and ASHE to show these organizations the billions of dollars being wasted by continuing to reference and enforce antiquated standards.

Directed by ASHE's Advocacy Committee, ASHE is preparing a public relations campaign showing how costly the older standards are and the negative impact they have on the design, construction and functionality of hospitals and ambulatory facilities. The ultimate goal is to move CMS and the Joint Commission forward to the 2012 edition of the Life Safety Code and then hopefully all enforcing agencies to the 2015 edition of the IBC and IFC.

Having one code and one set of interpretations, influenced by code enforcers, health care professionals and fire/life safety consultants, would eliminate the epidemic of inappropriate interpretations, excessive application and redundancies of the current code requirements.

And what could be a better gift than that?

Terry L. Martin, CHFM, SASHE

Sidebar - ASHE insight

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 https://www.associationstores.org/OA_HTML/ibeCCtpSctDspRte.jsp?minisite=10022&ref=ibeCCtpSctDspRte.jsp.