Healthcare Facility Management and Compliance
Compliance is at the forefront of every healthcare facility manager’s mind. Nursing homes and assisted living facilities are regulated, in most states, by a combination of state (Department of Health) and federal authorities (U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services or CMS). Inspections are usually done, unannounced, at least once per year.
Failure to comply with regulations could result—in the most dire of circumstances where patient safety is threatened—in penalties that include fines, appointed facility supervisors, suspension of new resident admissions, or license suspension. Findings that do not pose an imminent threat to patient safety will call for nursing home administrators to offer a “plan of correction.”
Preventative maintenance is key when it comes to compliance because once an inspection is underway, it is too late to fix things.
So, what are the compliance issues that healthcare facility managers have to be on top of? As we see it, the main issues are: emergency preparedness, control of infection, fire safety, HVAC, utilities, and the overall safety of residents (including general maintenance of things like elevators, furniture, floors, beds, carts, etc.)
Having a plan of action in place in case of a natural disaster is of the utmost importance. Making sure that generators are in good working order so that the lights stay on and cooking can be done is important. Having a gathering place planned out away from windows is also important. Staff should be trained as to what their duties are in an emergency. The recently updated Federal Register’s Emergency Preparedness Requirements for Medicare and Medicaid Participating Providers and Suppliers maps out what is necessary.
According to an article in Health Facilities Management Magazine, “the health facility manager’s role in infection prevention and patient care has become increasingly more important as health care associated infections (HAIs) have become a growing concern.” The magazine identified the top four most common facility-related infection control risks:
- Improper pressurization and ventilation of sensitive patient areas
- Dust and contaminants from construction sites
- Legionella growth in utility and potable water systems
- Contamination of sterile compounds in hospital pharmacies
Housekeeping maintenance staff, and other staff should always be trained on infection control standards.
The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services mandate fire and life safety compliance. According to a recent article by Facilities Maintenance Decisions “more than 100,000 fires occur in non-residential buildings every year... costing organizations billions of dollars in damages.” There are many regulations to be aware of and comply with, but at the forefront is making sure that sprinkler systems, fire extinguishers, and alarms are in good working order, and that the electrical system is up-to-date and not a fire hazard.
Facility managers must maintain, test, and inspect HVAC systems on a regular basis to ensure that they are clean and in good working order and meet health compliance codes and standards. Patients in healthcare facilities and residents in nursing homes or assisted living centers are often frail, and a poorly functioning HVAC system could have them breathing in dangerous dirt, germs, or even toxic mold—making them sick or even causing death.
In addition to these top four, facility managers have to keep up with many other things that affect overall patient and staff care and safety. General maintenance of utilities, elevators, furniture, floors, beds, carts, and more are all on the facility manager’s plate.
The Need for a Management System
So, how can facilities managers best and most efficiently keep up with these responsibilities, keep their healthcare facility in compliance, and keep patients and staff safe? We propose the following two solutions.
First, we suggest a computerized maintenance management system (CMMS) software solution that focuses on the repair and maintenance of an organization’s facility rather than its assets. The goal is to help you manage your buildings, spaces and occupants more efficiently.
Operators are able to act on requests immediately, reducing time to completion and eliminating the need to manually provide status updates to residents and staff. The software helps users coordinate activities and supports communication between departments so users can see what parts have been ordered, what work needs to be done on which pieces of equipment, and more. Additionally, it allows operations professionals to manage maintenance tasks, assets, inventory, and capital forecasting.
2.) The Mobile-Shop Maintenance Management System
The Mobile-Shop Maintenance Management System provides industry-specific carts with tools, a complete toolbag, and a parts center. In fact, the Mobile-Shop H3O Cart was built with healthcare facilities in mind – fully lockable and no sharp edges. Everything you need for repair and maintenance tasks at your specific healthcare facility is at your fingertips with tools in place on a cart you can easily wheel around. Our tools are guaranteed for life. And with our parts center, there’s no waiting or running to the store for parts. With the Mobile-Shop Maintenance Management System you’ll improve productivity and efficiency for your maintenance and engineering staff— while at the same time keeping costs down.
The Mobile-Shop Maintenance Management System provides maintenance technicians with all the tools they need to keep their clients safe and their facility proactively maintained to meet compliance.