Case Studies

Jevan Sean Seepaul – Northwell Health

Keeping hospital facilities healthy and risk-free

When the COVID-19 pandemic arrived, Jevan Sean Seepaul had no choice. As the engineer managing the facilities management department for one of New York City and Long Island’s largest healthcare providers, Seepaul kept the hospital system functioning.

With more than 74,000 employees and 23 hospitals across Westchester County, Staten Island, Queens and Long Island, Northwell Health is one of the biggest providers in New York. For the Huntington-based organization (about 40 minutes east of Manhattan by car) Seepaul leads a team of 27 staffers and is responsible for 400 beds and about 500,000 square feet.

Recently, he oversaw the completion of an outpatient wound-care center that includes a hyperbaric chamber used for emergency medicine and decompression conditions. He also helped the system respond to the pandemic.

“We put measures in place to ensure non-COVID patients are getting the same level of care,” he says. “It’s something different every day—there’s always a new ask. I pride myself with coming up with out-of-the-box solutions.”

Making new improvements

The wound care center with a hyperbaric chamber is located on Long Island. The oxygen therapy is used to treat conditions including diabetes, wounds caused by radiation, pressure ulcers, bone infections and other ailments. The non-invasive treatment enables patients to breathe pure oxygen at atmospheric pressures greater than normal, Seepaul says, enhancing and hastening the healing process.

A lot of people don’t like visiting hospitals, so the wound care center was built off-site as an outpatient facility, he says. Seepaul and his staff helped decide how to outfit the interior spaces, including treatment rooms and offices. They also installed more efficient HVAC systems and made changes to the fire alarms and other electrical systems.

“We had to put in a bulk oxygen farm with all the safety controls to keep the hyperbaric chambers safe,” he says. “We have our own fail safes and pressure regulation systems, too, for added safety.”

Because the outside tanks contain liquid oxygen that spoils, Seepaul uses a vendor that comes and replenishes the tanks often. Having a backup oxygen supply is important and necessary in case of emergency, he says. Plus, doctors and nurses use oxygen daily to treat patients.

“We converted an old emergency room and we’re still finishing the conversion of some areas to ensure there is negative pressure,” Seepaul says. “It’s not a CDC [Centers for Disease Control and Prevention] requirement, but it prevents the spread of airborne illness by allowing for isolation.”

Keeping people safe and healthy

Seepaul says his daily job is simple: to keep the buildings running. That’s a lot of work in normal times, but during a pandemic, there’s even more to do, he says.

Across the entire Northwell Health system, thermal imaging readers were installed to take the temperature of employees, vendors, patients and visitors. Other measures ensured that non-COVID patients were receiving the same level of care despite the pandemic environment.

“At times, especially in this environment, this could be a thankless job, but everything we do directly affects patient care,” Seepaul says. “We support our providers, who are doing everything they can to help our patients.”

In addition to the wound care center and day-to-day building maintenance duties, there are always capital projects and initiatives underway. There have been construction projects during the pandemic, including improvements to the HVAC systems, that allow for better isolation of infected patients, and Seepaul and his team are also working on creating better pathways for transporting patients.

“We’re trying to keep a business-as-usual environment, so the public feels safe coming to our hospitals,” Seepaul says.

Working his way

After growing up in Brooklyn, Seepaul graduated with a degree in engineering from the State University of New York’s Maritime College. He was an intern in the systems engineering department for Con Edison, the New York City power company, and gained more experience in instrumentation and control for Combustion Systems and Instrumentation. His first job in the field was as a system specialist, controls, for Automated Logic Corporation in Georgia.

From there, Seepaul spent nearly seven years in Ireland and the United Kingdom. He was a site supervisor, systems engineer and project manager in the building efficiency department for Johnson Controls for three years. Then he spent four years as a senior supervisor for facilities management for National Grid in England. Seepaul returned to the U.S. in 2018 as a senior project manager, energy efficiency, for Constellation in Baltimore.

Seepaul joined the plant operations team at Stony Brook Medicine as a technical operations manager for more than a year before being hiring by Northwell Health in April 2020.

View this feature in the Blueprint vol. VII 2021 Edition here.

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