by Sara Marberry
Hard to believe it’s only a few short weeks until the 2020 U.S. Presidential election
So it’s time to offer some thoughts on which candidate’s healthcare proposals and COVID-19 responses moving forward will stimulate new and/or renovation healthcare facility design and construction projects.
After reviewing an excellent slideshow by the Kaiser Family Foundation on where the candidates stand on healthcare, there are several policy changes in Donald Trump’s record and proposals by Joe Biden that have the potential to impact healthcare facility design and construction projects.
What this means for healthcare facility design and construction: Keeping the good parts of the ACA and increasing the number of insured people means providers will keep focusing on expanding outpatient care in their communities. Improving nursing home quality standards bodes well for design, if providers recognize the relationship between design and outcomes.
Putting the federal government in charge of COVID-19 response could have many implications for design, especially if funding or incentives are provided for facility improvements to enhance safety or expand telehealth services. More funding for mental health may lead to the construction of new facilities.
What this means for healthcare facility design and construction: The threatened demise of the ACA hasn’t happened yet, but if it does, it may not change the focus on outpatient care facilities. But reduced coverage for mental health and limited long-term care funding could impact the design and construction of facilities that serve those patient populations.
Also, if the ACA is repealed and replaced, it will create renewed chaos and uncertainty in the healthcare industry, which could affect spending on capital projects.
Keeping responsibility for COVID-19 with the states would reduce the change of any federal funding for facility improvements to enhance safety or expand telehealth services. Changing nursing home regulations could be positive for facility design — again only if providers recognize the relationship between design and outcomes.
Expanding VA mental health services might result in new or renovation projects.
Another key healthcare issue in the 2020 election is how each candidate plans to respond to COVID-19. According to a survey of registered voters by the Pew Research Center, it’s the fourth most important issue behind Supreme Court appointments, healthcare and the economy.
Here’s what Biden pledges to do:
Here’s what Trump pledges to do:
Without the details of how each candidate proposes to do all this stuff, it’s hard to say what the impact will be on healthcare facility design and construction. But a national emergency response will surely affect how healthcare providers plan for surge capacity and enhance safety.
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Finally, a personal request. This election is probably more significant than any other in our country’s history. We need strong, honest, selfless leadership to get us through this difficult time.
So, if you’re an American citizen and are eligible to vote (in-person or by mail), please do so!
This column originally ran on Sara Marberry’s blog on Sept. 18. Marberry is a healthcare design expert who has written/edited five books and is a regular contributor to Healthcare Design magazine. Marberry also is a former Executive Vice President of the nonprofit Center for Health Design.