In this business profile, Michael Argir, CEO and president of Medxcel Facilities Management, discusses the value and benefits of insourcing facilities-management services.
Tell us a little bit about your organization.
Medxcel Facilities Management is a fully integrated facility-management company dedicated to health care. We provide the entire spectrum of facilities services, including emergency management, life safety, environment of care, and construction project management. Our employees perform mechanical, electrical, and plumbing repair, as well as preventive maintenance. We also engage in detailed compliance assessments and develop action plans to ensure organizations are in line with the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS), Joint Commission, and other regulatory standards.
What sets us apart is that we invest back into the healthcare facilities we serve and currently service the largest nonprofit healthcare system in the nation, with 141 hospitals and 2,500 sites of care. Beginning in July 2016, we launched our commercial brand to expand our customer base to work with commercial clients as well.
What are some of the biggest challenges you see affecting healthcare organizations?
The industry’s emphasis on improving population health while delivering value is prompting health systems to move and expand certain services out of the hospital acute care setting and make them more accessible to patients in the communities where they live. The ambulatory strategy that healthcare systems are deploying requires speed to market and a strong coordination between many stakeholders to be successful. Unfortunately, maintaining these offsite locations in a systemized and standardized manner can be difficult for health systems, especially when you consider the constantly changing regulations and requirements. Medxcel Facilities Management, through our insourcing strategy, has a mobile workforce model to address these challenges.
Hospitals’ revenue is also declining as reimbursements shrink. As a result, organizations are looking for ways to cut costs and limit large capital expenditures. Oftentimes, a non-revenue-generating function like preventive equipment maintenance or mechanical system repairs can be first on the chopping block. Consequently, organizations are deferring facility-related issues until they have the funds to address them. However, regulatory bodies like CMS and The Joint Commission now require organizations to fix areas of non-compliance right away—they must find the capital to tackle issues as soon as possible. This is where Medxcel Facilities Management adds value. The data that we collect, organize, and analyze allow us to make fact-based decisions to better inform, prioritize, and fund infrastructure investments.
How do your service offerings address these needs?
Our executive leadership team has more than 200 years of combined experience in facilities management, life safety, and emergency management. We have leveraged this knowledge to build a program that fully addresses organizations’ facility-management needs.
Many of our competitors do not specialize in facilities management—they may be food service companies or housekeeping enterprises that perform facilities-related tasks as a smaller piece of their portfolios. As such, they do not have the level of expertise that we do from a leadership perspective, and they also tend to use subcontractors to do the actual facilities work, which can get expensive. Plus, these outside contractors don’t always truly partner with a hospital to understand its goals and build the needed relationship to achieve those goals.
We take a different approach by doing the work in-house to reduce high-margin contracts, leveraging the expertise of internal subject matter experts and executive leaders. Unlike an outside contractor that can have an average markup of 40 to 50 percent, our company provides training and education to current employees and hires any new technical staff who are needed, certifying that all facility personnel perform their jobs correctly, consistently, and efficiently. Not only does this eliminate higher-margin contracts, it brings personal ownership back to the facilities-management team. Overall quality of service goes up, as does staff satisfaction, and we can achieve these metrics at a lower cost. It is amazing the power of what we call “pride of ownership,” which is bringing the skill and technical work back to the hospital staff.
What are some key considerations for healthcare leaders when choosing this type of service?
One thing a hospital should consider is whether a potential provider can reliably meet a high-level of performance. We standardize our services across all our organizations to make sure we consistently follow best practices. Because Medxcel Facilities Management is a national enterprise that works with a variety of health system types, we have a proving ground that shows that our methodology works. We demonstrate improvements in quality, service, staff engagement, and financial performance.
Our success is due in part to the way we implement our services. As a first step, our compliance and operations teams come on site and evaluate the facilities operations of the hospital, assess code compliance, and conduct a financial analysis to develop initial benchmarks. From this activity, we generate a score that shows the health of the physical environment, and we complete an evaluation of facilities management spend. Next is an implementation period to set in place our tools and processes, followed by a validation assessment to gauge progress. By means of this process, we have improved compliance in the hospitals we serve by 15 to 20 percent in a 12-month period. After the initial implementation, we develop an action plan and database to help organizations sustain compliance and prepare for their onsite accreditation organization’s survey.
As healthcare organizations implement use of your service in their day-to-day operations, what advice would you offer so they can best set themselves up for success?
Make sure you are prepared to build a relationship, establishing up front what outcomes you expect. We expose clients to all our experts so they get familiar with every level of our organization. We set the tone up front that we want to align with their leaders, so we have strong communications right out of the gate. We also rigorously and regularly assess our performance, outlining what the client can expect from us and measuring against those expectations daily.
Organizations should also reassure existing facilities staff that they will be key members of the new team. With our service, we leverage an organization’s internal expertise and follow a “do no harm” policy—we can improve compliance, quality, and efficiency without having to cut any staff. In fact, our insourcing strategy frequently involves adding staff without adding expense, which is an unusual dynamic in today’s world.
Are there any educational materials you would like to share to help healthcare providers in these efforts?
Visit our Resources webpage for white papers, articles, and videos that offer helpful information about the benefits of an in-house model, the importance of ensuring daily compliance, and the financial ramifications if you fail to do so.
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