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Ascension Health's Bob McCoole Gets Funds for Facility Infrastructure Projects

By Greg Zimmerman, Executive Editor - February 2013 - Health Care Facilities


At Ascension Health, the nation's largest non-profit and largest Catholic health system, clinical devices seemed always to have a built-in advantage over facility equipment when it came time to compete for funding. It's not hard to understand why: Medical devices could be directly linked to patient care.

So, Bob McCoole, senior vice president, Facilities Resource Group, and his team devised and launched (in July 2010) a system called the Facilities Infrastructure Pool (FIP). Each year, Ascension sets aside a pool of money, between $30 and $50 million, for facilities projects. McCoole and his team ask facility managers all over the vast health care system to nominate projects for funding. These are then prioritized based on a number of factors, including likelihood of failure, life-safety risk, and energy efficiency, and as many as the capital allows are done.

"Infrastructure projects were fuzzy to leadership in terms of understanding the impact," he says. "We pulled facility projects out from having to be compared to MRI machines or other health or clinical needs. Rather than unglamorous infrastructure competing against clinical, we asked our facility managers to tell us projects where failures could occur and would negatively affect the hospitals' care of patients."

It's one of the many successes for McCoole and his team in the short seven-year life of the Facilities Resource Group at Ascension. The FIP is important because it ties into almost all facets of the Facilities Resource Group's mission – from energy efficiency to standardizing best practices across the vast health care system. The story shows how much influence a small, central organization like the Facilities Resource Group can have on such a huge health care network.





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