Health Hazards. In a Hospital.

Situation
A nationwide hospital system had recently come under government scrutiny for a range of health and administrative missteps, garnering significant media coverage. The management of one of their major patient-care sites – this one encompassing over 50 buildings – contacted HydroCorp to conduct a proactive evaluation of their entire water distribution system. Time was of the essence, and a team led by Glenn Adamus, HydroCorp’s Vice President of Operations, was dispatched to the site.

Discovery
During a complete system survey that covered point-of-treatment and distribution to plumbing system output, The HydroCorp team very quickly discovered a host of deficiencies in the water system infrastructure. These included numerous distribution system cross connections that posed real hazards throughout the campus.

Solution
Based on the findings of this system audit, HydroCorp provided a comprehensive, prioritized list of corrective actions to mitigate the widespread deficiencies. The team also compiled a thorough inventory of all water system equipment requiring routine preventative maintenance.

Glenn Adamus explains, “The proposed system-management policy changes, outlined in a clear, step-by-step action plan, were designed to both mitigate potential health risks, and reduce operational costs, by improving processes and operational efficiencies. That’s an outcome that can be overshadowed by the safety improvements, but we see it all the time. Consulting with HydroCorp almost always results in a net cost savings – to say nothing of the insurance and regulatory costs we help avert.” He continues, “Our intervention set in place safety mechanisms that included routine system maintenance, backflow prevention, and impeding bacterial growth such as legionella, in a highly sensitive patient care facility. And the time frame – from initial field work to final report – was less than forty-five days.”

Conclusion
For obvious reasons, any healthcare enterprise must be vigilant with regard to environmental health, not least with their water system safety. In bioethics, it’s the mandate “Primum, non nocere.” First, do no harm. “There were quantifiable threats to the water quality of this facility,” Adamus says, “for employees, visitors, and particularly the patients themselves. By calling in HydroCorp, the management saved themselves further embarrassment in the media. But of far more critical impact, we helped prevent what could easily have become a genuine health crisis.”