By Logan West

At Petra, we’re all about creating better — for our clients, for the healthcare industry, and for the patients we ultimately all serve. We’re excited to recently have had the chance to positively impact the future of healthcare design and construction as part of a hand-picked group of industry professionals guiding the regulation of hospitals, nursing homes, and long-term care facilities in the Lone Star state.

“It’s an honor to have played a key role in shaping the future of healthcare design and construction in Texas, and sharing that responsibility with other industry experts at the table,” said Logan West, registered architect and Petra’s Texas Director of Construction who served on the Texas Health and Human Services Commission Hospital Rules Review Workgroup. “Our work underscores the fact that the Texas regulatory agency responsible for licensing and credentialing hospitals and healthcare facilities has taken great care to ensure Texas facilities are held to the highest standard. It’s about putting patients first, which is what Petra also does every day — we create environments in which caregivers can provide patients with the best possible care.”

Petra’s Role in the Texas Health and Human Services Commission Hospital Rules Review Workgroup

In early 2019, the Architectural Review Unit, a regulatory division of the Texas Health and Human Services Commission, formed a workgroup to conduct an in-depth review of current state licensing and credentialing regulations for healthcare design and construction, comparing them with the most recent edition of the Guidelines for Design and Construction of Hospitals from the non-profit Facility Guidelines Institute (FGI). The goal was to determine whether to make related amendments or additions to the licensing regulations of the Texas Administrative Code in 2020.

Petra was the only construction management firm invited to participate in this group, which included a wide variety of stakeholders such as, engineers, architects, facility representatives, clinical staff, and more. Each stakeholder brought to the table crucial insights to give the state a broad range of perspectives in considering the new FGI guidelines and how changes to the state licensing regulations might impact hospital operations. Petra’s value is its deep healthcare design and construction knowledge and expertise, dating back to its origins as an in-house team within a healthcare system, as well as its Texas-specific industry experience.

FGI is an independent source for guidance on health and residential care facility planning, design, and construction in the United States. Its comprehensive research-informed guidelines are used by regulators, designers, builders, and facility owners to protect public health, safety, and welfare. First released in 1947, FGI guidelines have been updated many times through the years. The most current version was released in 2018. Texas currently does not adopt the FGI guidelines into its state regulations, though 40 states do incorporate the FGI guidelines into their state provisions in some way.

As part of this important workgroup tasked with impacting the built healthcare environment in Texas, Petra participated in a page-by-page comparison of the extensive Texas regulations and FGI guidelines. The workgroup carefully evaluated hospital function, services, architectural requirements, operational requirements, and everything related to the design and construction of healthcare facilities — from lighting and building materials to space planning and infection prevention.

The diligent review of hundreds of pages of information took nearly a year. The workgroup completed its final review in October 2019, and has made recommendations for modifications, additions, or other amendments to the existing Texas regulations. Those recommendations will be placed under review with the THHSC Executive Council, for finalization and release in 2020.

“At Petra, we say we ‘create better.’ Part of this means we’re focused on transforming the future of healthcare, creating better environments, better experiences, and better outcomes for patients,” said West. “Lending our expertise to this group and impacting the future of healthcare design and construction in Texas is another way for Petra to contribute and help create better.’ In Texas, ‘better’ all starts here, with these regulations.”

At Petra, we’re all about creating better. We build so much more than facilities. We’re building the future of healthcare. We’re deeply committed to making a difference in healthcare — today and tomorrow. Our entire team is driven by our shared passion to create better, because we believe every patient deserves better.

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