Boston – Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center (BIDMC) is undergoing a series of updates to its campuses in order to enhance the user experience for patients, employees and visitors with varying degrees of disabilities. Comprised of a team of well-experienced facilities managers, the BIDMC campuses are undergoing a major face-lift as part of a five-year project, in order to make its amenities more accessible to all.
BIDMC was one of the first hospitals in the country to be reviewed by the Department of Justice for compliance with the American Disabilities Act (ADA). Areas that required improvements in regard to ADA compliance were noted and the “ADA Team” was created in the form of two on-site full time Fox project managers and BIDMC’s ADA compliance officer, director of facilities and senior project manager.
Working with consultants Kessler McGuinness & Associate, LLC, this team of well-experienced facilities and project managers has been diligently working to mitigate more than 5,600 barriers across 33 facilities in three cities. Changes to the campuses have included the implementation of accessible washrooms, parking and drop-off areas, signage and wayfinding, accessible exam rooms and waiting areas, and accessible water fountain and hand sanitizing stations, to name a few.
The ADA Team continues to work with consultants to develop mitigation strategies, interpret the codes, and implement and audit in accordance with ADA regulations. Audit mitigation is scheduled to be completed this upcoming fall, with final reporting to be completed in the spring of 2015.
BIDMC formulated the Universal Access Advisory Council, created to give user expert perspectives to staff responsible for issues affecting people with disabilities.
The Council consists of hospital staff, employees, patients and family members of patients, and Fox’s two on-site project managers, Amy Chee and Christine DelPrete.