Navigating the Complexity of Healthcare Equipment Procurement and Facility Preparation

An expert article from Colin Construction Company

In the ever-evolving healthcare industry, acquiring new medical equipment is a substantial undertaking, often loaded with questions and complexities. Whether you’re a facility representative or a stakeholder with decision-making authority, there are several crucial aspects to consider before you make the investment in medical imaging or treatment modalities in an Office of Statewide Health Planning and Development (OSHPD)/Healthcare Access and Information (HCAI) environment. This brief article explores the unique expertise required for accommodating these modalities and provides a roadmap to help you answer the pivotal question: “What key design and construction considerations should you have in mind when acquiring new medical equipment?”

Considerations:

  1. Where do I start?
  2. How much will designing and building the project cost?
  3. Can the space accommodate the new equipment?
  4. What is my timeline?

Assess Your Budget
Before diving into the specifics, it’s essential to establish a realistic budget for your equipment acquisition and facility modification project. Understanding your financial constraints will help you make informed decisions throughout the process.

Determine Design and Construction Costs
The cost of integrating new medical equipment into your healthcare facility goes beyond the price tag of the modality itself. You must consider design and construction costs, which are influenced by factors such as:

  • Vendor Selection: Opting for a vendor different from the one whose equipment is currently installed can have an impact on the overall project cost.
  • Supply and Demand: Market conditions can affect pricing.
  • Equipment Model: Different models come with different salient features and space requirements.
  • Upgrade vs. New System: Deciding between upgrading existing equipment or purchasing a new system can significantly affect overall scope and costs.

Required Renovation Scopes to Support New Equipment

Integrating advanced medical modalities often necessitates extensive modifications to your facility, including but not limited to:

  • Demolition: Ensuring the compatibility of new equipment with the existing space and addressing any obstructions caused by current structures.
  • Structural Elements: Ensuring the facility’s structure can support the new equipment and providing supplemental structures for its support. Seismic bracing of existing services running through project areas may be required.
  • New Walls/Ceilings: Constructing new partitions to accommodate the equipment.
  • Shielding: Radiation, RF and magnetic shielding for safety and image quality.
  • Casework: Cabinetry for storage and organization.
  • Plumbing and Medical Gas: Provision of essential utilities.
  • Fire Sprinklers/Alarm: Ensuring fire safety standards are met.
  • Finishes: Upgrading the aesthetics of the facility.
  • HVAC: Ensuring adequate ventilation, filtration, humidity, temperature, and associated controls.
  • Power/Raceways: Electrical requirements and cable management.
  • Data: Connectivity and data infrastructure.
  • Nurse Call / Code Blue: Updating emergency call system.
  • Any other specifics associated with the equipment and space.

Departmental and ADA Compliance
When integrating new medical equipment into your healthcare facility, it’s vital to consider the necessary upgrades and modifications to ensure smooth operations and compliance with regulations. These required upgrades encompass various aspects, including ADA compliance, supporting spaces, space additions and modifications, and circulation path adjustments.

  • Supporting Spaces, Space Additions, and Modifications: Code changes may require additional supporting spaces be added or modified for your new or updated modality space to be compliant. Plan for necessary changes to accommodate the new equipment to meet code requirements and optimize your facility’s functionality, especially in areas like clean/soiled utility rooms, changing areas, lockers, and patient / staff restrooms. These areas are frequently needing ADA upgrades or added associated with new or upgraded medical equipment projects.
  • Circulation Path and Designation: Changes in area designations and circulation pathways, may be needed to meet code requirements and enhance workflow and safety, i.e. adding a new semi-restricted Corridor, or addressing MRI Safety Zones.
  • Service upgrades: Often when a remodel occurs existing services require upgrades to meet current code. Frequently encountered examples would include med gas, HVAC, nurse call, and fire alarm. Sometimes Facilities want existing services as part of a project due to the efficiency of addressing during construction. Examples might include upgrading to digital HVAC controls or switching to a new nurse call system.
  • ADA Compliance: ADA upgrades may necessitate up to 20% of the project’s construction value.

Owner Costs / Considerations
When undertaking healthcare space remodels or renovations involving medical equipment, it’s vital to account for owner costs that go beyond the primary expenses. Key considerations include Owner costs to be considered beyond the cost of new modality, Design, and Construction would best include:

  • OSHPD/HCAI fees or Permit fees if Local review.
  • Inspector of Record fees.
  • Third party test lab / med gas certifier fees.
  • Physicist fees for any required radiation shielding testing and for new equipment certification.
  • Any Owner provided furnishings and / or supplementary equipment.
  • An Owner’s Contingency. For bid build project this contingency should be higher than for Design Build.

Ever-changing code and equipment requirements necessitate a strategic approach to acquiring and integrating new medical equipment into your facility. By addressing key questions about costs, space, and necessary modifications, you can make well-informed decisions that enhance patient care and your facility’s capabilities. The expertise of a general contractor practiced in healthcare construction is invaluable in navigating this complex process. With their support, you can ensure your facility is well-prepared to accommodate the latest medical modalities effectively.

Understanding Your Timeline

Understanding the design, permit, and build timeline is vital for healthcare facilities to ensure the successful completion of construction projects while maintaining patient care, budget control, compliance, and overall operational efficiency. Proper planning and adherence to the timeline can lead to a successful and well-executed project that benefits both the healthcare facility and the community it serves.

Understanding the design, permit, and build timeline is crucial for a healthcare facility when embarking on a construction project for several reasons:

  • Patient Care Continuity: Healthcare facilities need to maintain uninterrupted patient care during construction. Knowing the timeline helps in planning and executing construction phases to minimize disruptions and ensure patient safety and comfort.
  • Budget Management: Knowing the timeline allows for accurate budgeting and cost estimation. Delays can lead to increased costs due to extended construction periods.
  • Regulatory Compliance: Healthcare facilities are subject to various regulatory and licensing requirements. Understanding the timeline helps ensure that permits, inspections, and compliance checks are coordinated properly to avoid violations and delays.
  • Design and Functionality: Understanding the timeline allows healthcare facilities to carefully plan the design and functionality of the new space to meet the needs of patients, staff, and technology. Rushed construction can lead to design flaws or deficient layouts.
  • Project Scheduling: A well-defined timeline enables effective project scheduling, resource allocation, and coordination of various stakeholders, including architects, engineers, contractors, and suppliers.
  • Risk Mitigation: Identifying potential project risks and their impact on the timeline is essential. Healthcare facilities can proactively address issues and minimize the likelihood of delays.
  • Quality Control: Rushed construction can compromise the quality of work, affecting patient safety and the facility’s overall integrity. Adequate time for construction allows for proper quality control measures.
  • Employee and Staff Safety: A clear timeline ensures that healthcare workers are aware of construction phases, enabling them to adapt to changes and maintain their safety during the project.
  • Legal and Contractual Obligations: Timelines are often specified in contracts and agreements with construction firms and subcontractors. Understanding the timeline is essential for ensuring legal compliance and avoiding contract disputes.
  • Strategic Planning: Understanding the timeline aids in long-term strategic planning, helping healthcare facilities align construction projects with their overall growth and service expansion strategies.

In the complex landscape of healthcare equipment procurement and facility preparation, making informed decisions is pivotal. At Colin Construction Company, we understand the challenges you face and are here to assist you every step of the way. Feel free to reach out with your questions, concerns, or to tap into our expertise. We’re committed to listening, offering guidance, and providing preliminary ROM pricing to help you kickstart your project. Don’t hesitate to contact us today, because your success is our priority.