How Facilities Management Maximizes Operating Efficiencies for Large Healthcare Systems

Virginia Commonwealth University (VCU) Health is one of the largest health systems in Virginia. Due to the system’s growth, Crothall needed to maintain 4.8 million square feet in fiscal 2021 – an increase of 1.1 million square feet from the previous year.


At a Glance

  • Increased Productivity While Reducing Costs

  • Compliance Readiness

  • Scalable Solutions

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See how one of the largest health systems in Virginia was able to expand and keep their facilities operating efficiently.



Virginia Commonwealth University (VCU) Health is one of the largest health systems in Virginia. Due to the system’s growth, Crothall needed to maintain 4.8 million square feet in fiscal 2021 – an increase of 1.1 million square feet from the previous year. When the construction of a new children’s hospital and adult outpatient pavilion is completed, Crothall will maintain more than 8 million square feet of facilities at more than 80 different buildings.

Crothall’s Facilities Management team began working with VCU Health in July 2019. But the health system’s expansion meant that Crothall quickly needed to add professional and hourly personnel and broaden its scope of work. In the past fiscal year alone, the number of work orders increased 22 percent.
The health system also needed a strong Facilities Management team to lead the inspection and repair of buildings and equipment in preparation for its next Joint Commission examination. Finally, it needed Crothall’s assistance to hire a quality workforce during a period when it became difficult to recruit key professional and hourly workers.

“Crothall Healthcare’s Facilities Management team is a true partner with VCU Health. As we’ve built or acquired new facilities, their management team has responded by significantly increasing the amount of prevention and corrective maintenance to keep our facilities operating efficiently within budget. In addition, Crothall’s ability to manage this expansion by increasing its scope of work as we grow is helping us operate safely while serving more patients. The reason we chose Crothall was because of the quality and performance programs that their Facilities Management team has.” – Shirley Gibson, DNP, MSHA, RN, FACHE Interim Vice President of Support Services and Planning, VCU Health System


To take on these additional responsibilities, Facilities Management strengthened its existing operating model to help a large, growing health system meet its goals. Solutions included the following:

Increased Oversight: Added several project managers and new associates at hospitals, clinics, ambulatory sites, and other offsite facilities while eliminating part-time Managers. Staff was added when VCU Health completed its purchase in January 2021 of 67-bed Riverside Tappahannock Hospital and urgent care facilities. Crothall also expanded to manage the Sheltering Arms Institute, a 212,063-square-foot, 114-bed inpatient rehabilitation facility.

Standard Services Protect a Health System’s Brand Reputation, Patients, and Staff: Because Crothall’s Facilities Management work is done by highly trained professionals who receive proper training, the company is enabled to perform preventive and corrective maintenance at each facility. Crothall hired several new associates since beginning work for VCU Health and none have left the workforce. Part-time workers were replaced by highly skilled full-time specialists.

Preparation for Regulatory Compliance Review: In fiscal 2021, Crothall’s Facilities Management recommended and oversaw the investment of $1.6 million, preparing the health system for an upcoming Joint Commission exam. These projects included fire damper testing and repair, above ceiling inspection and repair, arc flash/electrical coordination and building condition studies, fire door testing, and repair of an Intensive Care Unit door. It also helped the hospital prepare for the exam by leading and participating in mock surveys conducted by third parties. This preparation resulted in a nearly 80% reduction in findings in areas of direct Facilities Management responsibility with all findings being “low” on the Joint Commission safety matrix, no documentation findings, and no widespread findings. Of note, according to Ms. Gibson, “all of this preparation was done during the two years of the pandemic and only eight months after Crothall took over.”

“Our extensive experience in facilities management has enabled us to help VCU Health operate efficiently while it continues to grow to meet the needs of more patients in its communities. Our seasoned facilities and project management team, coupled with experience in managing large capital budgets, gives us the expertise to help any large health system succeed.” – Larry Shirts, Senior Regional Director of Operations, Crothall Healthcare


  • Scalable Solutions As VCU Health continues to grow, Crothall can scale its services to meet demand and support future expansion.
  • Increased Productivity While Reducing Costs Even though the number of work orders increased 22%, costs were 4.7% below target in fiscal 2021 and dropped from $7.98 to $7.39 per square foot.
  • Compliance Readiness Quality Assurance surveys found that Crothall met its preventive maintenance goals for high and standard utility systems, general maintenance, life safety, and infection control. In surveys conducted between April-June 2021, a QA score of 99% was achieved for the VCU Health System, 97% for Mechanical Space, and 100% for Room and Area.
  • Expansion of Additional Support Services Because of Crothall’s Facilities Management performance, VCU Health has recently added two other Compass One services to provide additional specialty support: food & nutrition services and environmental services.

“Our operating model is designed to create efficiencies for any large health system that needs to succeed. Because the data we compile on all required safety and preventive maintenance is audit-ready for the regulatory agencies, compliance is documented and always available. Our services for hospitals and ambulatory ensure that all systems are operating at peak performance so the health system can focus on healing.” – Chris Spanos, Senior Vice President of Operations, Crothall Facilities Management

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Maintain operational efficiency at your hospital with healthcare facilities management to ensure that all systems are operating at peak performance. Contact us to learn more about the benefits of standardizing your outsourced integrated healthcare facilities management services to one provider with Crothall Healthcare.