Codes and standards for the design, construction, and operations of healthcare facilities are continuously evolving to increase personnel safety and ensure quality of services and products. As regulatory agencies adopt new guidelines, and facility owners develop improvement plans accordingly, healthcare facilities can be in a near-constant state of renovation and upgrade.
Compounding pharmacies are no exception to these ongoing updates and improvements. In fact, since these facilities are overseen by the Federal Government, they are required to meet the latest USP Standards within a specified timeline once the standard is released. Recently, all compounding pharmacies were required to comply with the latest USP 800 Standard by December 2019. This caused many healthcare facilities to scramble and take on renovations and updates of their spaces with very short notice. These changes presented numerous financial and operational obstacles that owners needed to work through to perform the updates and stay in compliance.
Compounding pharmacies consist of rooms that have specific purposes. The four major space types within a typical pharmacy are: the working area, ante room, non-hazardous compounding, and hazardous compounding. For design purposes, temperature and humidity conditions are prescribed for each type, as well as pressurization relationships between each individual space. Specific requirements for the architectural environment — like floor and wall finishes, storage capacity, and employee workflow — must also be addressed.
To meet the environmental obligations, the facilities needed to evaluate the existing HVAC systems and confirm their adequacy to meet the specific requirements. Because the provisions are fairly strict, many existing systems were insufficient and required upgrade or replacement. This brings us to the major issue for owners: the sticker shock of the upgrade. These upgrades were major, yet unexpected capital projects whose effects on the overall operating budget don’t go away quickly.
This is also true with the architectural elements. The prerequisite wall and floor finish materials can be expensive to purchase as well as expensive to install. In some cases, in order to install these finishes, the existing millwork, furniture and pharmacy equipment needs to be removed, relocated, and in most cases replaced. Depending on how the existing pharmacy is laid out, the relocation of the equipment and employee workflow could cause a major architectural renovation.
In any commercial renovation it is necessary to meet the latest codes and standards. For facility owners to plan improvements effectively they need to understand how these requirements may impact the scope and cost of a project. Drawing from their depth of experience Fitzemeyer & Tocci works with building owners to understand their needs and goals to guide owners on how to meet the needs of each individual renovation project.
Written by: Stephen Picariello, HFDP
Associate / Project Manager