Executive Order Unwinds Healthcare Infrustructure

E R D M A N Alert:

President Trump Signs Executive Order that Unwinds Infrastructure Rules

On August 15th, President Trump signed an executive order (EO) that loosened regulations for infrastructure projects including building and design standards that would have taken severe weather into account during construction. The aim of the EO is to speed the pace of infrastructure construction and repair for critical buildings including hospitals. President Trump announced that the new policy shortens the permitting process by condensing the environmental review process which has “slowed the pace” of infrastructure construction and repair. The order also rescinds the extra flood protections for all federal infrastructure projects (Presidential Executive Order on Establishing Discipline and Accountability in the Environmental Review and Permitting Process for Infrastructure, August 15, 2017).

The hospital “physical environment” has a measurable impact on health. The industry recognizes the evidence that shows appropriate design can promote healing and recovery. Patient satisfaction accounts for the “whole” hospital experience and hospitals trust that designers will use the evidence-based design approach when designing new hospitals.

Hospitals trust that the safest, most suitable approach will be used during the construction and design process. For instance, building a hospital located in a flood region may be built at an elevated level or with regraded, expanded drainage. These preventive steps are effective and worth the time. According to industry experts rolling back regulations will “make infrastructure weaker, not stronger.”

After Super-storm Sandy hit the east coast New York state officials including Mayor Bloomberg called for regulations and proactive oversight when building or repairing hospitals, among other critical infrastructure facilities and projects.

The consequences storms have on hospital operations and patient care cannot be overstated (Congressional Research Service report). The country’s infrastructure is in need of immediate repair, an issue that members of Congress and governors of both parties have agreed. Industry experts have voiced their concern about speeding the construction and design process of hospitals.

“In the immediate aftermath of Harvey, Irma and Maria, the federal government is re-thinking its infrastructure and emergency preparedness, especially around the energy grid and essential services, including health facilities. This affords hospitals and provider organizations an opportunity to assess needs and facility plans and potentially petition state and federal agencies for funding to upgrade facilities. We’ll continue to follow this closely and share what we learn”

Rustin Becker
Executive Vice President
ERDMAN

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