Sunday, March 16, 2008

Surgery Center Design and Sq Feet used as a political weapon -

Troy Lair, PhD and CEO of The Compliance Doctor, LLC based out of Los Angeles writes this story and becomes headlines to the Missouri Times as "Political Weapons, Surgery Centers are now a target. Beware!"

This morning's news reported that the State of Missouri is considering legislation that will require existing abortion clinics (there are four of them) to conform to standards of 'ambulatory surgical centers' in order to continue offering their services. Proponents of the law call it 'common sense' and necessary for safety while abortion rights advocates decry it as a backdoor attempt to shut down abortion clinics.

Regardless of how you personally feel about the issue of abortion, this situation vividly shows how political architectural space can become. 'Ambulatory surgical centers' require 6 foot corridors and 12 x 12 examination rooms. One of the existing abortion clinics in Missouri has 5 foot corridors and 10 x 10 foot examination rooms. The new law would require the facility to essentially gut the majority of their spaces in order to comply-- about $650,000 of changes including plumbing, ventilation and other systems. The governor calls it one of the strongest pro-life laws ever put in place. Three of the four abortion clinics will have to make changes in order to comply with the new law. One doctor describes this will make it "difficult if not impossible to get abortions in this state".

Again, I bring up this issue not to necessarily spark a debate about abortion, but to point out that what we do as surgery center designers for space and patient flow for processes sometimes becomes a larger issue than first meets the eye. It is said that architecture is the manifestation of intention, and this intention embraces functional, spiritual and philosophical goals in addition to budgetary and tangible space issues. Oh, what tangled webs humans can weave.

Source: National Public Radio Morning Edition, March 14, 2008 · "Missouri Pro-Life and Anti-Choice Square Off" by Kathy Lohr. A federal judge is reviewing a Missouri law that requires abortion providers to become licensed as Ambulatory Surgical Centers. To do so requires retrofitting offices to meet codes. The new law is criticized as a bid by anti-choice legislators to make it difficult for women to get abortions.

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