SEPTEMBER 19-21, 2023
Charlotte Convention Center - Charlotte, NC

Author: Jenabeth Ferguson

Check in on others!

Around New Year’s, someone sent me a link to psychologist Naomi Holdt’s Facebook Post about why we are all feeing so utterly exhausted.  It resonated with me and as I shared it with several different friend and family group texts the response was overwhelmingly “oh that is why I feel this way”.  Her primary point was that we all were on high alert and in crisis mode for 2 years, and then leapt back into life in 2022 trying to make up for lost time in every single area of our lives without having properly processed the trauma of what we’d been through.

In Massachusetts, where I live, since New Year’s there have been quite a few high-profile tragedies that involved people killing their own family members and in some cases children.  When these happen so close to your home it’s very hard not to be impacted.  All of the cases have of course in one way or another involved someone with mental health issues that either were not treated or treated incorrectly and lead to unimaginable results. In every instance, the law enforcement officers reporting on what happened have ended by saying something to the effect of if you need help there are resources and if you are worried about someone, please check in.

Over the years at the Symposium, we have shined a light on mental health with sessions about design and construction of behavioral health facilities, keynote speeches from individuals who have survived tragedy and the battle they faced mentally as well as physically and by naming non-profit organizations who bolster awareness surrounding mental health as our charitable organization. We will continue to do our part in bringing these discussions to our annual event.  We will continue to drive the conversation within the industry on creating better behavioral health environments.

Today, however, though I’m focusing more on all of you as individuals. It’s been a long few years.  All of you who work in healthcare supporting the front-line workers;  who had your kids at home for months on end and now back in the classroom and maybe still feeling the effects; whose parents are aging and their care is now falling on you; who have so much work but not enough resources to do it whether that be people or supplies; or countless other stress points.  Be kind to yourself.  Check in on others.  Especially those that are seemingly strong and always in control.

Be well,

Jenabeth Ferguson
Vice President, Symposium Director
Healthcare Facilities Symposium & Expo

P.S. Have a thought about the Symposium? Please feel free to contact me at any time at [email protected].

Improving the Micro-Hospital Model

Renee Kubesh, AIA, EDAC | Senior Project Manager and Principal | EUA

Healthcare providers increasingly turn to micro-hospitals to deliver quality care to their communities. These fully licensed, 24/7 facilities can help patients with myriad medical issues – including critical care – within a fraction of the space of their full-sized counterparts, typically less than 20,000 square feet.

After more than a decade of operational micro-hospitals, we’ve seen recurring themes in how providers adapt them to meet their evolving needs. We also had the privilege of recently conducting post-occupancy evaluations for two buildings. We offer these top findings as lessons and recommendations for sustaining the success of this healthcare delivery model.

Finding the Right Location

Micro-hospitals can offer convenient and accessible community care when strategically positioned relative to a greater healthcare system’s network. Many existing micro-hospitals are in relatively urban areas. Still, a micro-hospital could be located to reach underserved areas or to enter new markets, even if other providers are already present.

Despite a robust network of hospitals and clinics in the United States, many communities – especially economically disadvantaged and rural areas – lack adequate access to healthcare. Some healthcare systems see micro-hospitals as a solution and a mutually beneficial arrangement: the community gets access to nearby care, and the provider introduces new patients to their system with a relatively small investment. Also, higher-risk patients benefit from connecting to a specialty care network while receiving local, stabilizing, pre-treatment care.

Staffing is vital to this approach. As these facilities are introduced in underserved areas, the municipality and health system have a joint responsibility to foster strong relationships among their constituents and improve local amenities, making the region desirable to medical practitioners as a place to not only work but also live and be part of the community.

Other providers leverage their micro-hospitals to support a “spoke and hub” model of care. Staff triages incoming patients to determine the best care location based on patient needs, staffing and bed availability. This approach works well when assets like a robust network of physicians and access to ambulatory and acute care are already in place. It is also a valuable model for municipalities seeking to revitalize their city centers, as proximity to healthcare is critical in driving downtown living and business development.

Both approaches to locating micro-hospitals have typically assumed the facility will operate as a stand-alone service. But we’ve noticed a trend of using micro-hospitals as anchors for medical office buildings or specialty care services. Patient-centered care and patient satisfaction are enhanced through convenient access to pharmacies, laboratories, radiology departments, ambulatory surgery or specialty care. This allows the micro-hospital to remain true to its core model – lean and efficient – while being able to plug into other services.

Some healthcare systems integrate their micro-hospitals to support a “spoke and hub” delivery model, allowing them to transfer patients, if necessary, to main-hub hospitals or other in-network facilities that offer specialized services.

Integrating Specialty Care

Our healthcare clients increasingly ask for micro-hospitals with more integration and flexibility. They are rightfully concerned about licensing requirements, local patient population needs, and incorporating appropriate demographic specialty care components.

The challenge is meeting those requirements without forfeiting the efficiencies of the micro-hospital model. We often caution our clients from over-engineering or over-programming; the micro-hospitals do not need to meet every patient’s needs all the time. They will still be effective, as staff will attend to patients that require immediate care while stabilizing and transferring others as needed. Over-engineering these facilities can increase the break-even point, slow patient throughput, and hurt patient satisfaction and employee engagement.

If done strategically, it is possible to integrate specialty care while still realizing a micro-hospital’s benefits. For example, one client considered pairing cancer care with the traditional emergency department and inpatient model. With cancer care as a top revenue draw – and considering the distance from the main hospital – this made sense for the provider.

To integrate specialty care effectively and preserve the micro-hospital’s efficiency, healthcare systems should identify the specific components of care early in the building’s design process and review them with the local authority having jurisdiction over the project. The facility may require separate entries, clear identification of dedicated versus shared support areas and code-delineated smoke zones.

In our post-occupancy evaluation, we found it is better to offer radiology as both an inpatient and outpatient service. Radiology for inpatient service is required for licensing, but offering it for outpatient services will increase patient access and lead to a greater return on the high-investment imaging equipment. Future micro-hospital designs should maintain separate access pathways for each type of service to maintain efficiency and reassure patients that they are receiving the care they registered for in the appropriate location.

Supporting Staff and Cross-Training

Micro-hospitals are intended to operate on a lean and efficient staffing model where doctors, nurses, and aides cross-train to provide care to the maximum ability of their licenses. This is a functional approach as long as the staff still find value in their work. Often, burnout is not the result of staff doing too much work but rather from losing touch with the job they once loved.

We’ve heard from staff that they want more time at a patient’s bedside, which allows them to own the patient’s care from arrival to discharge. While it might seem counterintuitive, in a micro-hospital setting, one nurse should provide services ranging from meals to breathing treatments, all at the patient’s bedside. The variety of work counteracts nurse burnout and increases patient satisfaction by developing a deeper relationship with one caregiver.

The hospital’s design should support staff cross-training. A centrally located nurses’ station adjacent to the medication room, lab and storage areas allows staff to help the emergency and inpatient departments during low census counts. At busier times, when both departments may have dedicated teams, the station encourages communication between them so that staff can assist each other.

A centralized nurses’ station allows staff to see what’s happening around them and ultimately deliver better care. We learned from our post-occupancy evaluation that inpatient waiting rooms must be within view of, and ideally adjacent to, the station so nurses can oversee and communicate easily with family members.

Placing the nurses’ station and other support spaces in the center of the micro-hospital makes it easier for staff to respond to patients in all departments.

Incubators for New Ideas and Systems

There is little doubt that micro-hospitals will continue to adopt more technology, and the patient experience will become more virtual. Many providers are leaning into their micro-hospitals as technology incubators because it is easier and more cost-effective to test new technology and workflows in a 10-bed rather than a 100-bed facility.

For example, consider how micro-hospitals might embrace a new registration and check-in experience. Today, patients walk into an emergency department, and the first person they see is likely a receptionist. In the future, this position will be handled by an automated kiosk that scans the patient’s identification and directs them to the appropriate waiting area. Or they may bypass the kiosk altogether; instead, there might be an automated secure door system with advanced wayfinding to support patient self-rooming. The point is that providers are much more likely to try this technology on the micro-hospital scale – with minimal investment – before implementing it in their larger facilities.

Micro-hospitals are also apt testing grounds for improved mechanical systems. We learned from our post-occupancy evaluation that more rooms should have systems that can flex to negative pressure, allowing maintenance staff to respond to potential future pandemics without re-tooling mechanical equipment.

Looking Ahead

Micro-hospitals have a bright future. The model has become increasingly attractive to healthcare systems and patients due to rising construction and healthcare costs. As we continuously look to improve the state of healthcare in our country – whether through enhanced access to care, better support for staff, or new technology – micro-hospitals are fertile ground to test and implement ideas in an already innovative and efficient model.

About the Author: Renee Kubesh believes that architecture makes a difference in people’s lives and is excited to be a part of that dynamic in healthcare. Her healthcare environments empower staff to realize their potential, welcome family and visitors in a relaxing atmosphere, and help patients take control of their treatment and wellness. Over her 30-year-plus career, she has led the creation of spaces that can flex to future needs. She values an evidence-based design approach of understanding and respecting what has worked in the past while making the design and construction process engaging and fun for everyone involved.

About EUA: EUA is best known for designing environments that elevate people’s potential. The respected 115-year-old firm specializes in several markets, including education, workplace, healthcare, senior living, student housing, mixed-use, entertainment, and science and technology. More than 250+ employees in Milwaukee, Madison, Green Bay, Denver and Atlanta demonstrate an unparalleled commitment to the markets, communities and clients they serve. For additional information, please visit the firm’s website at

Lasagna Love

Writing this column is sometimes a challenge in December when there is so much going on. Wrapping up year end projects, trying to clear the inbox before time off for the holidays and getting ready for the holidays of course. I often come up with inspiration from what is going on in my life and tie it back to the Symposium. Instead, this month, I’m going to share my story about a grassroots project I got involved with almost two years ago. If you think back to January 2021, it was a pretty dark time for a lot of reasons. One of the ways I survived COVID lockdown and the many, many months of when it was safer at home, was cooking.

I love to cook. It is often how I relax, and it is how take care of the people I care about. Like a lot of you I cooked a lot during COVID, but I really dove into learning new recipes and getting a lot better at techniques I had only dabbled in previously. I was special ordering food online from all sorts of sources to recreate meals I’d had in restaurants or trying recipes I had wanted to attempt for years. It really was a lot of fun and saved my sanity. And then one day I saw a social media post about Lasagna Love.

Lasagna Love is a global nonprofit and grassroots movement that aims to positively impact communities by connecting neighbors with neighbors through homemade meal delivery. They also seek to eliminate stigmas associated with asking for help when it is needed most. Such a simple concept and talk about a way to directly give back to someone in your own community.

I signed up immediately and before I knew it, my Fridays were filled with cooking lasagnas and driving to strangers homes and leaving a hot meal on their steps. It was such a meaningful way to do something for others. In the past 8 months as life has gotten back to a more pre-pandemic pace, I haven’t been able to make as many lasagnas as I’d like. In fact, at one point, I spoke to my regional leader about everything that was going on in my life, including the increased level of care of mother was needing at the time, she suggested that I needed a lasagna made for me. It seemed weird to accept. My instinct was to refuse. And then I remembered the advice I had given to people in my life time and time again . . it is ok to ask for help. I’m terrible at taking it myself but this time I did. And so one Friday afternoon a Lasagna Love volunteer showed up at my house with a lasagna.

The good news is that in recent weeks I’ve been back to delivering lasagnas myself. Last week I delivered to a woman who texted me later she shared it with an elderly neighbor. It truly warmed my heart. Tomorrow I’ll be dropping off a hot lasagna to a mother of 3 whose husband has been picking up extra shifts to support their family.

Every year at the Symposium through our raffle we make a donation to charitable organization supporting worthy causes. Like most of you, as the year end approaches I make sure I’ve supported the organizations that are near and dear to my heart. All of this is important but what I truly value about Lasagna Love is the direct impact it has on someone who for whatever reason needs a little help.

As you are rushing around this time of year, make sure you are also stopping and thinking about what you can do to give back in one way or another to someone who needs a little help.

Wishing you and yours the best this holiday season!

Jenabeth Ferguson
Vice President, Symposium Director
Healthcare Facilities Symposium & Expo

Thank You!

Last month we gathered in Long Beach for the 35th Annual Healthcare Facilities Symposium & Expo and what a tremendous success it was – with incredible buzz and high energy, compelling keynotes, conference sessions, networking and much more! I kicked off our event sharing some of my personal history with the Symposium and also how it has impacted my family. I thought I would use this space this month to share what I told the audience, with our entire Symposium community as I know not all of you were there in Long Beach.

1998 was the first time I became aware of the Symposium on Healthcare Design (our former name), and I was early in my career producing events, so I wasn’t always focused on the purpose of each event, but the Symposium was different. As the daughter of an engineer, I certainly could appreciate the impact of design on the experiences in spaces.

One year later the Symposium was to take place in Boca Raton, Florida in September but Hurricane Floyd had other ideas. We rescheduled the event three months later in Orlando and for the very first time I learned how to cancel and relaunch an event; skills I didn’t really need again until 2020. Back in 1999, I went to the Symposium and was asked to lead one of the tours and we went to Celebration Health.  Like all of you know, it’s great to talk about healing environments and how design impacts them but there is nothing like seeing it in person. Meanwhile, back home my family was moving my grandmother with Alzheimer’s to a nursing home so when I got home and first visited her, I saw the good and bad about where she was now living. My family thought I was crazy when I said the nursing station was in the wrong location.

Jumping ahead to this past winter, I was once again faced with a family member with Alzheimer’s needing to be placed in a facility.  This time it was my mother and I have been her primary caregiver so the responsibility of picking the right place was on my shoulders. I armed myself with everything I knew about Alzheimer’s and almost 20 years of my career solely focused on the Symposium.  All the hospitals and healthcare facilities across this country I have spent time in, all the sessions I have programmed, all the conversations I have had with all of you.  I felt bad for the folks I was meeting with because they were fully prepared to talk to a daughter looking for some place for their mother, which was a situation they had seen far too many times, but a daughter whose work focuses on healthcare design that was a whole other level of critique.

I visited five facilities and narrowed it down the best two. I will just tell you about one that didn’t make the cut. I met with the woman for over an hour and was really impressed with their programs and philosophies.  We walk into the memory care area, and I notice the residents’ apartments are all down a hallway with zero line of sight to the common areas.  As we walk down this endless hall where all the doors look the same there are handwritten signs on the walls telling ‘John Smith your room is this way’.  And I thought bad design negates all the best intentions in the world. In the end we were fortunate enough to select a facility super close to my home with some very good design aspects.

What I wanted to say to all of you is thank you for the pushing and questioning and changing you’ve done in the past 20 years to make the place I put my Mom so much better than the one my grandmother was in, which was really my Mom’s biggest fear.

Be well,

Jenabeth Ferguson
Vice President, Symposium Director
Healthcare Facilities Symposium & Expo


Media Contact:
Sophia Lapat
[email protected]


Attendees Enjoyed Exhibitor Innovations, Inspiring Keynotes, Engaging Sessions by
Industry Leaders & Networking Connections, September 27-29, 2022

Long Beach, CA (October 10, 2022) – Last week, thousands of manufacturers, architects, designers, engineers, contractors and healthcare leaders convened at The Long Beach Convention Center for the 35th annual Healthcare Facilities Symposium and Expo, HFSE, one of the country’s largest shows dedicated to healthcare design and facilities, energized attendees, exhibitors, speakers and partners with compelling Keynote Presentations, 100+ Exhibitors, Conference Sessions, Networking Events and much more.

“On the heels of a successful 2021 Healthcare Facilities Symposium & Expo in December, 2021, we were hoping for an even bigger, and more robust 2022 edition and it exceeded our expectations with incredible growth across all facets including attendance and exhibitor participation,” said Jenabeth Ferguson, Vice President, Symposium Director. “The excitement at this year’s event was palpable, as manufacturers, architects, designers, and healthcare leaders experienced unparalleled access to industry education, cutting edge new healthcare design products and services, and networking opportunities.”

Robust Conference

The Symposium featured three jam-packed days of educational and insightful Sessions and Keynotes by top industry leaders. The sessions spanned multiple topics including Pediatrics, Behavioral Health, and Community Health. This year’s keynotes included Liz Ogbu, Founder + Principal, Studio O, Oleksii Iaremenko, Deputy Minister for European Integration, Ministry of Health of Ukraine, and closing Keynote, Jessica Gutierrez-Rodriguez, Executive Director, Facilities Management & Operations, University of Texas Health San Antonio.


“I always enjoy attending HFSE because I feel that there is more content catered to hospital executives and planning, design and construction teams. It has been valuable in connecting with peer institutions to share knowledge and expertise, especially in such a challenging post-pandemic environment. There were many great perspectives and targeted strategies shared in presentations and owner-focused meetings that I’ll definitely leverage going forward. This year’s conference was especially great, to reconnect and see so many familiar faces and walk away feeling better about our industry as a whole.” Sean Collins, AIA, LEED AP, Executive Director, Facilities Planning, Design and Construction, Cedars-Sinai


“This year’s HFSE conference was full of heartfelt inspiration.  As we continue to provide healing environments in healthcare, we are more open as professionals to lead with our hearts.  The utilization and application of generative space will continue to be at the forefront of our actions.” Jessica Gutierrez-Rodriguez, Executive Director, Facilities Management & Operations, Facilities Management Department University of Texas Health San Antonio


Expo Hall

The Expo Hall featured the most innovative products and services in the healthcare facilities industry from some of the country’s top manufacturers and providers. Many exhibitors launched new products at HFSE, getting in front of important decision makers from healthcare facilities, architecture and design firms. The Expo Floor also featured two Design Solutions Theaters where the design team galleries came alive with 15 minute mini-presentations.


“The Healthcare Facilities Symposium and Expo offers the opportunity to connect with healthcare system executives, facilities managers, architects, and designers and gives exhibitors a chance to highlight their products and make new connections.” Nick Nichols, Director of Business Development, Skyline Art


“HFSE provides an incredibly professional venue that brings everyone together around the challenges and opportunities tied to healthcare design and is a premier networking opportunity for a diverse audience. Most importantly, they provide unparalleled support to their exhibitors. We will be back next year!” Raffi Baltayan, Marketing Manager, Unicel Architectural Corp.


“I was very pleased to represent PAC/Envac Automated Waste and Linen Removal at HFSE 2022 in Long Beach, CA. The event was intimate (and fun!) and really encouraged people to meet, learn, share, consult, help, and exchange ideas.  We made several valuable connections with whom we will develop long-term mutually beneficial relationships.  Thank you to all who helped plan and organize this wonderful event!” Lynne Klosowski, Marketing Specialist, Precision AirConvoy Corporation


“SwiftWall chose to exhibit at HFSE 2022 because of the show’s attraction to the healthcare industry’s elected clientele. From facility managers, architects, designers, planners, GC’s and manufacturers, we knew the right mix would be in attendance. SwiftWall’s 20×20 booth was a great way to showcase our product in real time. FLEX Wall is our newest product for the healthcare industry and we wanted our launch to be felt with dramatic entrance at HFSE.” BettyLynn Abercrombie, Account Executive, SwiftWall


“I am so glad that I decided to participate in the 2022 Healthcare Facilities Symposium & Expo in Long Beach, California! This was our first time participating and it exceeded all our expectations. The entire event was run smoothly by the HFSE team who were incredibly organized, quick to respond to all questions, and made the process easy. We were excited about the traffic to our Expo Booth. I would say to anyone thinking about participating-do it, you will not be disappointed!” Jim Carey, Vice President, West, Krug


Symposium Distinction Awards

The annual program recognized design teams, projects and individuals who have made a profound contribution to the healthcare design industry. In addition, it recognized the best and most innovative new products within the healthcare design & construction industry. This year’s winners included: Boston Children’s Hospital Hale Family Building (Team Award), Jamestown S’Klallam Tribe Healing Clinic (User-Centered Award), Hoag On-Demand Care & Innovation Center (Adaptive Reuse Award), Tim Laboranti, Principal of Healthcare Design, BDA Architects (Individual Award), Stephen Parker, Senior Associate, Stantec (George Pressler Under 40 Award), AkitaBox Facility Condition Assessment Software (Most Innovative Product), Altro Tegulis (Most Sustainable Product) and Interface Desert Scapes™ (Architect’s Choice). New this year, the Founder’s Award was awarded to Francis Murdock Pitts, Principal of architecture+.


“I was humbled to be selected as this year’s George Pressler Under 40 Award recipient and celebrating with my Stantec colleagues from across the world who came here to HFSE. It was a wonderful experience to collaborate with my peers, consult with clients and congratulate everyone on the great designs on display throughout the conference.” Stephen Parker, AIA, NCARB, Senior Associate, Behavioral + Mental Health Planner Stantec Architecture


Networking Events and Raffle

HFSE is the place to mix and mingle with new and old friends at daily events including the Grand Opening of Exhibit Floor, Ice Cream Social, Happy Hour and the ever-popular Raffle. This year the Raffle raised $14,000 for Long Beach’s Algalita.


“Algalita was honored to participate as a charity partner at this year’s Healthcare Facilities Symposium & Expo. Using the raffle proceeds we received from the event, we will invest more than $14,000 in our environmental education programs that reach thousands of teachers and students every year. Thank you for supporting our work towards a world where plastic pollution is unthinkable!” Katie Allen, Executive Director, Algalita

For more information about the 2023 Healthcare Facilities Symposium & Expo (September 19-21, 2023), visit


The mission of the Healthcare Facilities Symposium & Expo is to create a multi-disciplinary environment that inspires you to evoke change and the advancement of a better delivery of healthcare through the physical space. Competitors, clients, and colleagues come together as friends to collaborate, share research, hear fresh perspectives and participate in the ever-changing conversation of your industry.


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September 19-21, 2023
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