As we approach the end of 2021, we convened an accomplished group of healthcare professionals from across the county to discuss the year past and look at the year ahead in healthcare facilities management and healthcare in general.

In our far-ranging conversation, we cover many topics, including:


“It’s not sustainable to continue the way we are working, and that means automating more things, providing new sensors and digital technologies because we don’t have people in the field (to do all the work). It’s critical we look at how we manage work and how we can better manage work.” 

– Dr. Robert Feldbauer, VP/Chief Facilities Officer, UC Health, Cincinnati, OH

Degrees and Education

We also talk about degrees, and our guests have slightly different perspectives. I am passionate about this issue, and I do not favor a blanket proclamation that a degree is needed in the director role, especially given employee shortages in the industry. For example, I have seen current hospital directors removed from an applicant pool more than once because they did not have a degree. However, they had double-digit years of hospital director experience. 

“I’m sorry, we really need to think outside of the box and say how to get the right leader in the right position and surround them for success to become a great leader. There has to be a happy medium between degreed and non-degreed professionals. Technology is changing  the competencies of the people we hire, and we are going to have to change who we hire and how we hire them.”

– Carol McCormick, Director of Facilities, Plant Operations, & Maintenance for CHI Health Immanuel and CHI Health Mercy, Omaha, NE

Eliminating “excuses’ in 2022 

“Staffing challenges will become the reality, but will not be allowed as an excuse (in 2022). We will either attract people or figure out how to do work. The Covid excuse will not be allowed anymore, not just in FM but in healthcare. And sometimes it means we will not do something (we once did).” 

– Robert Hacker, Director of Facilities, Planning, Design, and Construction, Community Memorial Hospital & Ojai Valley Community Hospital, Ventura, CA

“There is pressure on how to do things differently, there will be a tipping point, and it will be saying, “we aren’t going to do this anymore.” We will be forced to do so because we can’t expect that we will have all the staff and all the resources that we once did (pre-Covid).”  

– Christine Pirri, SVP, Chief People & Diversity Officer, Bassett Healthcare Network, Cooperstown, NY

Staffing and salaries

A significant issue for guests is staffing shortages across all areas of healthcare. We discuss why increasing salary has not been the cure-all to keep employees.

Other topics discussed

  • The year in review: Staffing shortages, vaccination mandates, and a return to “normal” (2:30);
  • What about me and other factors around compensation, and is this current model sustainable? (25:00); 
  • The issue that will not go away, the degree. Does a unique historical time demand a different approach to the degree requirement?  (32:00);
  • Looking at technology, including “The Internet of Things” (48:00);
  • The changing demands of patients and families (1:00:00);
  • Predictions for 2022, and removing the “Covid excuse” (1:13:00).

It is a great listen, download and subscribe here:

Reel History,

G/MA Nuggets

1) We are excitedly putting the finishing touches on our annual review of the year, and preview of the coming year. It is one of our favorite pieces to create, please look for it to be released the week of December 13.

2) Jobs, jobs, jobs

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