Since its inception in the late 1990s, the Facility Guidelines Institute (FGI) has grown into the national leader in guiding the development of the healthcare-built environment. Today, 43 states adhere to at least a portion of FGI’s Guidelines, which are updated every four years.
Soon, you can add one more state to the list. Texas will move on from its own standards to the FGI standards next summer. The transition promises to affect healthcare facilities around the state.
The FGI started in 1998 with the mission is to establish design guidelines that are advised by research to advance quality health care. The guidelines are updated at regular intervals, with the next release being 2022.
On the other hand, Texas has been using its own standard, Texas Administrative Code Chapter 133 Hospital Licensing Rules, since 2007. While there have been a few amendments since then, the codes are mostly unmodified in 13 years; actually, the current rules were based on the 2001 Guidelines.
Think about how much the healthcare industry has changed in the last dozen years – especially considering the giant leaps we’ve taken with new technologies. Ultimately, Texas realizes its healthcare industry codes can’t keep up at the same pace as FGI.
The latest FGI codes improve program flexibility, reduce risk, address healthcare trends and provide greater consistency. For large healthcare systems that operate in Texas and multiple states, it will be easier to maintain code compliance since they are referencing one universal code.
Not only are the FGI guidelines make for more consistency between healthcare facilities, but the FGI is more consistent with the environment of care guidelines used by Joint Commission, which accredits 70 percent of the hospitals in Texas.
The FGI also provides a wider range of standards on specialty procedures that are not addressed in Texas’s Admin code. An example of this is a Hybrid Operating Room, which did not start becoming a trend until after the Texas code was published. The FGI is a little more prescriptive than the current Texas code – it provides a better, more comprehensive recipe to follow when you’re putting together your healthcare program.
Ultimately, FGI provides resources, education, clarity and support that allows for a more meaningful dialogue with the state. As a result, this should also reduce the number of feasibility conferences your project may require.
In our next article, I’ll dive deeper into the differences between FGI and Texas Chapter 133. In the meantime, feel free to reach out with questions and comments – you can email me.