In a hospital setting, proper management, maintenance, and organization are critical. Though you may credit the cardiac department with the cleanliness of their rooms or appreciate the NICU for its comfortable environment, much of this is attributable not to the individuals on those particular teams but to the hospital facilities manager. This employee plays an essential role in keeping the building safe, clean, functional, and comfortable for patients, visitors, and staff alike.
The hospital facilities manager serves as an essential point of contact for a variety of issues within the facility. From a faulty light fixture to damaged flooring, the facilities management team handles it all. Over the course of a day, the facilities manager may field emails about maintenance and repairs, review proposals for a new construction project, tour and inspect patient rooms, compare pricing on new furniture options for the waiting room, negotiate a service contract with the cleaning crew, and train new employees on proper emergency evacuation procedures.
Meanwhile, the hospital facilities manager must keep an eye on the bottom line and ensure that their many activities remain within the allotted budget. From handling a never-ending rotation of routine duties to addressing potential safety hazards, downtimes, and breaches in security, the facilities manager’s job is never done.
One of the primary responsibilities of a hospital facilities manager is keeping the environment safe, clean, and well-maintained. This includes the full scope of the hospital’s facilities, such as:
The facilities manager should routinely inspect all of these elements or schedule professional inspections as needed to make sure they’re in proper working order. As well, the hospital facilities manager must schedule and arrange for routine preventive maintenance. In some cases, this might mean shutting down certain patient rooms while they’re repainted or rerouting traffic within the building to accommodate ventilation maintenance.
Some hospital facilities managers can get hired with as little as a high school diploma, but the vast range of knowledge necessary for this job makes it better suited to someone with a minimum of a bachelor’s degree in a field such as healthcare administration, construction management, or business.
Hospitals must remain in compliance with several laws, including the False Claims Act (FCA), Patient Safety and Quality Improvement Act (PSQIA), and Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPPA).
A facility classified as a hospital will also need proper licensing from the state department of health. Requirements and procedures vary by state, so a solid knowledge of local laws is critical.
Maintaining personal certification can help a hospital facilities manager as well. The Certified Healthcare Facility Manager (CHFM) credential is a highly coveted certification for professionals in this field. You can get this certification if you have a bachelor’s degree and three years of relevant experience, an associate’s degree with five years of relevant experience, or a high school diploma and seven years of relevant experience.
Safety and security are prime considerations in a hospital environment. The hospital facilities manager must handle both physical and cybersecurity. This includes implementing, maintaining, and overseeing the appropriate practices for:
Overseeing security measures on computers and other items containing sensitive personal data
Patients put a great deal of information into the hands of their healthcare providers and they must feel confident that they won’t suffer any breach of trust from doing so. The facilities manager must work closely with IT personnel to make sure the patients and facility are well protected from all threats.
Facilities management for hospitals requires continually adjusting and improving elements within the building. From replacing the heating and cooling systems periodically to expanding new wings of the hospital as needed, there’s no shortage of projects for the facilities manager to handle. Having a skilled facilities manager in place streamlines new improvements to the building. The professional can vet contractors, review budgets, draft schedules, and supervise work to make sure the hospital gets what it needs in an affordable and timely manner.
Having a reliable facilities management team on staff makes a tremendous difference to any hospital. These key players have a instrumental role in nearly every aspect of how a hospital’s facilities function.