Meet Michigan Medicine: U-M Health Facilities Department
At Michigan Medicine, faculty and staff advance health to serve Michigan and the world — and the University of Michigan Health Facilities Department is tasked with creating and maintaining the environments that make that work possible.
The Facilities team is charged with maintaining more than 70 individual buildings, comprising nearly eight million square feet of space across southeast Michigan. This includes hospitals and ambulatory health care centers, many of which operate 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
“We work hard behind the scenes to ensure that the quality of care our patients come to expect from us can be provided in a seamless endeavor tied to high reliability and the ideal patient care experience,” said Robert Harris, P.E., associate health system director for Facilities Planning & Operations and executive director of Facilities for U-M Health.
Through pandemics and power outages, equipment failures and floods, the Facilities team works to ensure that existing environments meet the needs of today’s patients and staff, while also planning for future growth and changing needs. Three teams coordinate to meet those challenges: Facilities Planning and Development, Operations, and Maintenance.
Facilities Planning and Development
The Planning and Development team consists of architects, engineers, interior designers, planners, equipment and activation specialists, and support staff, who help envision and guide what the future will look like at Michigan Medicine. More than 400 studies per year lead to the execution of projects large and small, from the design and construction of The Pavilion at U-M Health to the renovation of existing individual spaces.
“We provide oversight and guidance at numerous stages of facility project implementation,” said Wayne Sieloff, A.I.A., NCARB, director of Facilities Planning and Development. “This includes concept development, planning, budgeting, architectural and interior design, engineering, equipment planning, construction administration and project activation.”
The team also provides technical support and guidance in the operation of health system facilities, and develops and maintains technical documents and health care facility design guidelines.
“We take great pride in doing our part to support the tremendous work of faculty and staff,” Sieloff said. “We are focused on providing world-class facilities and physical frameworks to allow Michigan Medicine to continue to be a world-leading provider in health care, education and research.”
The operations team monitors Michigan Medicine facilities 24 hours a day, 365 days a year, from a control room that houses dozens of computer screens, each providing critical information needed to operate all of the buildings across the organization.
“The skilled individuals in the control center monitor and maintain over 100,000 points of data on a real time basis. It truly resembles a launch pad control center,” said Harris.
The team keeps a watchful eye to make sure each facility continually meets regulatory requirements for environmental conditions like room temperature and pressurization, humidity and air flow.
“We use information from the systems monitoring team to make operational decisions from day to day and hour to hour, if needed, to continually PDCA — plan, do, check and act — within our facilities to ensure safe environmental conditions exist for our patients, families and patient care teams,” Harris said.
The maintenance team maintains more than 70,000 pieces of equipment throughout the organization and responds to nearly 55,000 work orders that are issued each year. The team processes tens of thousands of preventative maintenance work orders each year — similar to changing the oil, filters, tires or belts in your car.
“Hospital maintenance maintains the infrastructure that makes life-changing and life-saving care possible,” said Michael Hoeflein, P.E., business manager for Hospital Maintenance.
The team maintains everything from pneumatic tube systems that provide convenient and fast delivery of medications and specimens to emergency power generation that provides electrical reliability for critical equipment and spaces. Skilled mechanics, carpenters, painters, HVAC mechanics, plumbers, electricians, fire alarm specialists, project managers and more bring diverse expertise to the team. Every member of the team is vital to ensuring that facilities are reliable, safe and operational.
In addition to performing daily preventive and corrective maintenance, the maintenance team worked closely with operations to quickly pivot and incorporate space modifications needed to care for COVID-19 patients.
“During the pandemic, the greatest challenge [the team] faced was evolution and adaptation as we followed the science,” said David Rose, support services finance director for Facilities. “That meant everything from adding HEPA filtration to rooms for COVID-positive patients to rearranging the facility for social distancing and changing signage to accommodate our mission.”
“The U-M Health Facilities team is proud to be part of the support services network including Patient Food and Nutrition, Supply Chain and Materials, EVS, Security, Gifts of Art, Parking and Transportation, Vendor food services, Safety Management, Linen and many other targeted services all vital in supporting our institutional goal to be the leaders and best,” said Harris. “The support services network enables caregivers to focus on performing the life-saving work that results in the daily miracles that touch so many of us.”
Be sure to watch the “Short Takes” video highlighting the work of the Facilities Department for additional information.