City approves replacement of hospital's CT scanner

Thursday, November 30, 2006

EUREKA SPRINGS -- The City Council Monday night voted unanimously to allow the Eureka Springs Hospital to purchase a replacement for their 19-year-old CT scanner. The replacement, a reconditioned newer unit, will cost $171,400, according to hospital administrator David Wheeler, and will be financed by Arvest Bank of Eureka Springs on a five-year note.

Wheeler told aldermen that the present unit broke down earlier this year and because of its age, finding a replacement part was difficult, with one finally being found in China. Wheeler said the week-long shutdown, besides inconveniencing patients, cost the hospital about $30,000 in lost revenue.

He said the newer unit would be faster and more efficient, cutting scan times almost in half, and the hospital would be able to test for additional problems the older unit could not be used for.

Under questioning by aldermen, Wheeler said the maintenance contract for the present unit had expired, and its renewal for another year would cost about $24,000, a cost he said he did not want the hospital to incur. He said that arranging for removal of the old unit and delivery and set up for the new one would take about four weeks.

Based on the information provided by Wheeler and Leslie Bowling, head of the hospital's radiology department, the Council passed Ordinance 2031 on three readings and approved an emergency clause, thus allowing the purchase process to proceed immediately.

Wheeler said that the hospital's medical staff has estimated an income from CT scans of from $13,000 to $15,000 per month, with anticipated loan payments of $3,400 during the first year. Delivery, set-up and maintenance for the first year are included in the purchase price, he said, but added that a maintenance contract after the first year would cost approximately $108,000 per year.

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