Annual MHA Conference Provides Education, Inspiration

by Emily Langner

MHA 2019 Design Panel

On May 17, the Massachusetts Health & Hospital Association (MHA) held its Annual Design, Operations, and Construction Conference in Burlington, Mass.

The purpose of the conference is to give hospital facilities leaders and architecture, design, and construction professionals working in the health care space an opportunity to learn about some of the latest issues, best practices and innovations in the field, as well as to network with their colleagues.

According to Kirsten L. Singleton, MBA, CAE, executive director of MHA’s Center for Education & Professional Development, “Things are always rapidly changing in hospitals, and this annual event helps leaders and vendors stay on top of the latest trends and regulatory strategies.”

MHA 2019 Design Panel speakers: (l-r) Tim King, Dann Boyer, Stephen V. Deschenes, George Player

The conference started with a panel discussion entitled “Mental Health Space Challenges: Design, Build, and Renovate Within Anti-Ligature Codes; TJC Inspections and Other Considerations.”

Tim King, project executive at Creative Office Pavilion/DIRTT Walls and conference director, says, “One of the biggest changes in healthcare planning is the increase in focus and resources on behavioral health.”

He says roughly 25% of beds in emergency departments are now being used for mental/behavioral health issues, so “it’s important to understand how to successfully treat patients from a mental health perspective, not just a clinical one.”

Boston Medical Center bridge, shown finished, is a two corridor-wide connection between the hospital and its supplies, trash, and the helipad to allow rapid transport of trauma patients.

Other topics at this year’s conference included disaster preparedness, internal water safety and prefabrication in the healthcare environment.

One project highlighted in the “Prefabrication in Healthcare” presentation was the Boston Medical Center Bridge. According to Stacey Yeragotelis, principal at SmithGroup, “Allowable installation time and impact of construction on other critical operations is a big driver for prefabrication. We had one day to install the massive bridge over Albany Street, so we prefabricated it in an adjacent parking lot.  The bridge was built more efficiently, and we installed it in one day. We called it Bridge-a-palooza and celebrated this important milestone.”

The MHA conference is free of charge for all hospital engineers, facilities directors, and employees of MHA member hospitals.

King says, “Our goal is to make sure that all of the new information, technology and codes get out so facilities professionals have access to it and can then add increased value and efficiency to their hospital or medical center.”

Boston Medical Center Bridge – lifted

This year’s conference had over 100 attendees, and according to Singleton, “Hospital facilities leaders face many challenges in today’s environment, whether it is on the regulatory front (water and building code regulations) or the patient safety side. This conference provides an opportunity to take a deeper dive into some of these important considerations.

We also hope attendees gain inspiration and a sense of community from MHA’s design conference, and also receive validation of their work and its important place in the healing professions.”

Emily Langner is the associate editor for High-Profile Monthly.