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Hospital Authority approves 6 major purchases

Memorial Hospital and Manor Authority approved six capital equipment expenditures Tuesday at its monthly board meeting, responding to at least half of the requests suggested by department heads at the authority’s August 23 retreat.

Purchase and expenditure items approved were:

• An integrated physician practice management and electronic health record system designed for physician practices, at a cost of $747,125 over a seven-year period. It integrates shared patient records among practicing system physicians and the hospital, creating a shared patient record available at any location. The Medicare and Medicaid incentive programs will provide incentive payments to eligible physician practices as they adopt and implement this technology. It is projected the hospital will receive a stream of incentive payments totaling $1,220,250 from Medicaid and Medicare by 2019.

Speaking on behalf of the expenditure was board member Dr. Charles Walker, who said the system is friendly from a medical care aspect.

“It is here to stay,” he said. “It is how business will be done.”

An additional argument for implementation made was that if hospital/physicians don’t implement measures to qualify for incentives, at some point penalties will be imposed for not participating.

• A chemistry analyzer and immunoassay system. It was described as the “workhorse” of the clinical laboratory, generating 60 percent of the department’s revenue and providing precise and accurate measurement of analyses. The hospital’s current system has ongoing problems. The reagents (chemicals used in the procedures) are currently purchased at an annual cost of $144,966, and annual equipment service currently runs at $48,833. The combined five-year operating cost of both service and reagents is presently $969,148. A proposed five-year reagent agreement provides two chemistry analyzers and one new immunoassay system, including full service on all instruments with a proposed annual cost of $190,713, or $953,568 over the next five years.

• New and used equipment and instruments for two additional exam rooms and the optical room for the expanded practice of Bainbridge Ophthalmology, at a cost of $87,377.50.

• Responding to a request from the Accounting Department, re-engineering and improving the various dictionaries and processes of the cost accounting module will help track the profitability of each procedure done in the hospital. The new module will look at what the hospital is being charged by outside entities and will assist management in making accurate decisions. The total cost for consulting and implementation is $23,500.

• A mid-size autoscrubber machine that strips and buffs the floors. Advantages are reduced odor and noise, increased productivity. The cost is $8,017.97.

• Electric combi-oven/steamer. It replaces an existing one purchased in 1998, the bottom half of which has not worked for the last five years. The cost of the new unit is $18,835.30.

Financial Report

The hospital reported a loss of $46,941 for the month of August, but year-to-date figures remain on the positive side, compared to last year. Currently, the hospital reports a positive $294,675, compared to a minus $1,365,503 this time last year, for a variance of plus $1,660,178 at only five months into the fiscal year, causing CEO Billy Walker to comment, “It just shows we must stay focused on our plan.”

Other Business

An update was given on a diversified marketing plan under consideration. It includes advertising on radio, the football scoreboard, newspaper and the Internet, as well as two billboards to be placed — one on U.S. Highway 27 South and the other on U.S. Highway 84 West — promoting specific services offered by the hospital.

Announcements

A reception for new physicians, Dr. Mandy Moye (pediatrics), Dr. Jason Moye (obstetrics/gynecology) and Dr. Omar Al Haddad (family practice) will be held Thursday, Sept. 29, from noon to 2 p.m., in the Kirbo Women’s Center classroom at the hospital.

The hospital will hold health fairs again this year. There will be one Tuesday, Oct. 4, from 8 a.m. to noon at the First Baptist Church, for seniors (age 65 and older). The community health fair will be Tuesday, Oct. 11, from 7 a.m. to 2 p.m. at the Decatur County Memorial Coliseum.