Hospital updates technology, equipment

Published 8:41 pm Friday, January 22, 2010

The January meeting of the Memorial Hospital and Manor Authority focused on approving the purchase of capital equipment, renewal of insurance agreements and the review of financial indicators.

As the hospital continues its effort to update and improve efficiency of operations, it has created a steering committee to guide the facility toward successful electronic health records implementation and compliance with the government’s latest regulations and reimbursement requirements. This includes use specifications as defined for the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act.

In order to qualify for stimulus money, the hospital must be certified by the commission for Health Care Information Technology. It is necessary to update its present services provided by MediTech, and implement key clinical systems that are able to interface with other providers for sharing patient information.

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A preliminary hardware budget of $351,200 has been drafted. It includes servers, scanners, “computers on wheels,” tablet computers and additional data storage. Additionally, a preliminary figure for updating the software will exceed $616,600.

The hospital’s information system provider MediTech has established an implementation schedule requiring a 10 percent deposit and offered incentives to complete the changes by scheduled deadlines. Based on the preliminary budget, the board approved a $61,660 down payment to MediTech in preparation for the fast approaching deadlines.

Along those same lines, the board approved purchase of a software utility that automates information technology processes.

As the hospital’s computing needs have grown, there are many interfaces that the servers hosting those interfaces and scripting tools must handle. Network Automation’s AutoMate 7 software compiles or converts information into machine language so that it can be processed more swiftly. Cost approved for purchase of that system was $5,325.94.

Other purchases approved were a stainless steel reach-in freezer for the dining services division, at a cost of $6,025.44, to replace a 20-year-old existing freezer for which parts were no longer available.

A medical grade refrigerator with 32 cubic feet of storage capacity was approved with a purchase price of $6,979. This will be used in the office of Narlito Cruz, M.D., of Bainbridge Allergy Clinic, to store extracts, serums and allergy injections. This refrigerator is equipped with a temperature recorder and remote temperature alarm designed to help eliminate significant inventory losses due to unanticipated power outages.

The Finance Committee also recommended, and the board approved, an extended contract with King’s Medical Company to provide MRI services to the hospital. Although the 48-month existing contract was not set to expire until December, financial incentives were provided to revise and extend the contract to a 60-month contract, making the new expiration date Jan. 31, 2015.

In the initial 11 months, the new contract allows for a flat rate of $33,070 per month based on the current average of 112 procedures per month. This reduces the cost to the hospital to $295 per scan. During the next 29 months the monthly flat rate drops to $27,550, reducing the charge to the hospital to $246 per scan; and the final 20 months of the agreement the monthly flat rate drops to $21,000 per month. Based on current volumes, the fee per scan would be reduced to $188 per scan.

Finally, the hospital has embarked on a systematic replacement of printers throughout the hospital and manor. Beginning in February, the hospital will purchase five Kyocera laser printers every month for 24 months from BrinkOS, until all printers throughout the facility are replaced and standardized. The rationale for the expenditure is that it will save the hospital 23 percent to 27 percent over the non-contracted price and save in costly repairs. Cost is not to exceed $4,500 per month or $108,000 over the course of the agreement.

Financial conditions

Key indicators of the hospital’s financial condition for the month of December 2009 show net revenue of $3,170,188, with expenses of $3,547,215.

The figures for November were net revenue of $3,042,605, with expenses of $3,469,542.

Net income loss for December was $319,293, and for November $353,715.

Year-to-date net income loss for 2009 was $1,905,260 compared to net income loss of $1,026,862 for 2008.

According to Chief Financial Officer Billy Walker, this difference can be explained in part by the fact that indigent care trust money for 2009 has not yet been received as early as in 2008.

On the bright side, total cash received for December was $3,051,706. The figure for November was $2,922,855. The new collection efforts and a decline in days of accounts receivable are credited with this improvement in cash flow.

Hospital to mark 50 years

In other business, CEO Jim Peak gave an update on the plans for the hospital’s 50th birthday celebrations.

A gala birthday party will be hosted by the Memorial Hospital and Manor Foundation on March 26 at the Bainbridge College Kirbo Center.

According to Peak, this event replaces the annual hospital dinner gala held for many years. It is not considered a fund-raiser, but is a thank you to those who have supported the hospital. There will be no auction or other fund-raising activities. Tickets will be required for admission and information for the foundation event can be had by contacting Carole Clenney at 243-6105.

A celebration open to the public will be held at the hospital on Sunday, April 18, from 2 to 4 p.m.

All past and present employees, physicians and volunteers, as well as members of the community, are invited to enjoy birthday cake, ice cream, a musical performance, antique car show and children’s games.

An exhibit of memorabilia and old photos taken at the hospital will be on display in the front lobby.

Anyone having old photos they would like to share of the hospital facilities or staff may contact Jan Godwin in the hospital public relations department at 243-6187. Photos will be scanned and returned immediately.

An employee party will be held on the front lawn on May 14.

Peak also announced that current Authority Board President Joe Livingston has been nominated for a position on the Georgia Hospital Association Board. The election will be held in February.

Peak indicated the state legislature will likely make deeper cuts in Medicaid and Peachcare programs, based on information he is currently receiving.

In a final action, prior to adjourning to executive session, the board approved changing the date of the February meeting to the 23rd to allow Peak and Livingston to travel to the state board association meeting.