How the FGI Guidelines for Healthcare Facilities are Created and Vetted

The process for a proposal to be accepted is long and rigorous.

By Jeff Wardon, Jr., Assistant Editor

There are many guidelines healthcare facilities have to follow, both in operations and in design. These are set forth to maintain certain standards for the industry. Given this, it is important to note when guidelines may change so that any future facilities can prepare to comply with them. 

Several organizations have standards put out for healthcare facilities to follow, including the Facility Guidelines Institute (FGI). FGI has three separate documents that pertain to healthcare facilities: 

  • Guidelines for Design and Construction of Hospitals 
  • Guidelines for Design and Construction of Outpatient Facilities 
  • Guidelines for Design and Construction of Residential Health, Care, and Support Facilities 

These documents are updated every four years, with the latest edition released in 2022. Currently, FGI is early in the process of preparing the 2026 edition of the three documents. Within that process are several steps involved before finalization. 

According to Leah Hummel, senior associate director of advocacy for the American Society for Health Care Engineering (ASHE), the proposal submission period had taken place from February 2023 to June 2023. Hummel says that FGI and ASHE recently put out a call for public opinions on the submitted proposals for the 2026 edition. 

“Anybody can go in and review all those proposals and comment on them so they can make their opinions known,” says Hummel. “There, the Healthcare Guidelines Revision Committee (HGRC) is going to be doing kind of an initial vote on all those proposals beginning in October. So, we are looking for some people to weigh in on the proposals that have been put forth and what their opinions are of them.” 

Among the many proposals are a few major ones to note for hospitals: 

  • Phasing during renovations: ID-85, ID-149, ID-201 
  • Disaster planning: ID-699, ID-700 
  • Service spaces in restricted and semi-restricted areas: ID-1267 
  • Nitrous oxide systems: ID-1053 
  • Airborne infection isolation room anterooms: ID-1114 
  • Specialty infection control exam rooms: ID-1596 
  • Multiple-diagnosis patient care units: ID-1699 

Redefining procedure, operating, and imaging room definitions:  

  • Procedure rooms: ID-1233, ID-1265 
  • Operating rooms: ID-754, ID-1266, ID-752, ID-1157 
  • Imaging rooms: ID-1156, ID-1160, ID-1723, ID-1724 
  • Exam/treatment, procedure, and operating room classification: ID-1150, ID-90, ID-1154, ID-1441, ID-1682  
  • Rural emergency hospitals: ID-1177, ID-1444, ID-1525 

However, just because a proposal is submitted does not mean it will be adopted. There are some hurdles and processes these proposals are subjected to before being ultimately adopted or rejected. 

“So, just because the proposal has been put forth now does not mean it is necessarily going to become part of the 2026 edition,” says Hummel. “It will have to be voted on and go out for public comment again. We voted on it again a couple times. It is a pretty rigorous process to make sure that what gets published in the document has really been vetted by both the members of the public and the HGRC.” 

The process itself ensures that these proposals are exposed to public scrutiny and refined from the feedback received. All in all, the entire process is designed to be a series of checks and revisions so that the final documents are in the best interest of healthcare facilities.  

Jeff Wardon, Jr. is the assistant editor for the facilities market. 

September 14, 2023

Topic Area: Maintenance and Operations

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