ES hospital commission approves equipment purchases

Tuesday, February 25, 2020

By Samantha Jones

After taking ownership of Eureka Springs Hospital on Feb. 1, the Eureka Springs Hospital Commission is getting to business.

The commission heard from lab director Tina Adams and radiology director Amy Grant on Monday night, with Adams saying the hospital needs new or upgraded equipment to compete with other hospitals nearby. Adams said she’d like to purchase a Hemochron, a machine that provides an analysis the hospital didn’t offer when Allegiance Health Management operated it.

Adams presented several bids and suggested that the commission approve the Hemochron with an eight-year warranty. The machine would require supplies, Grant said, but that’s true for most medical equipment.

“Eight years of supplies is $10,976,” Adams said. “That’s going off what we did last year, so that could increase, but so would our revenue.”

Another important purchase, Adams said, is a blood gas analyzer. Adams said the hospital was loaned a blood gas analyzer from OPTI Medical after its old machine broke.

“The blood gas analyzer we have is so old the screen went out and they cannot fix it,” Adams said, “so they did send us a loaner to use. I’d really like to stay with them. They have supported us.”

The blood gas analyzer would come with a one-year warranty, Adams said, and she’s not sure how much supplies will cost.

“That’s going to change anyway,” Adams said.

Adams continued, saying the hospital also needs a chemistry analyzer. The hospital’s current chemistry analyzer isn’t so current, Adams said.

“The last time they came to do maintenance on it, they said, ‘You need a new one,’ “ Adams said.

Adams said she’s found two analyzers through Beckman Coulter Diagnostics that fit the bill.

“So these are two pieces that go together?” asked chairman John House.

“Yes,” Adams said. “The analyzers can … bring in a lot of things that we don’t do.”

Adams said several doctors send their patients to another hospital to get tests done, saying that wouldn’t be the case if Eureka Springs Hospital had upgraded equipment. She presented one last request for an upgraded differential analyzer.

“The new analyzer will be $100 more a month than the one we have paid for now,” Adams said, “and it will extend our lease, because we’re trading up.”

The commission then heard from Grant, who said radiology is probably one of the more expensive parts of the hospital.

“However, the revenue is also pretty good,” Grant said.

Grant said the hospital needs new X-ray equipment because Allegiance owns the equipment they had been using.

“The portable X-ray machine with the digital plate, the rad room, everything … it does not belong to us,” Grant said.

Grant said the hospital owes back payments to the company that provided the X-ray equipment and another company that provided the CT scan. The hospital needs to take care of that, Grant said, and upgrade the equipment as soon as possible. Darrell Parke, who works with Alliance Management Group, agreed.

“We’re actually 30 percent of the whole radiology marketplace around here,” Parke said.

“We’re losing a lot,” Grant said.

Grant suggested working with Butch Holliday to provide the CT machine, saying Holliday has offered the hospital an 80-slice CT scan that would help the hospital compete with nearby healthcare providers.

“The big thing here is it’s 80 slice,” Holliday said. “You’re going to be one of two critical access hospitals in the state that has something bigger than 16 and 32 [slice].”

The commission voted to approve all purchases as presented and moved on to hear from Alliance representative John Parigi about the cost report for 2019. Parigi said the commission needs to hire someone to do the cost report, suggesting the same person who did the cost reports when Allegiance ran the hospital. Parigi said he trusts that individual and believes it’s the best deal for the commission.

“He’s going to do that for us very cheap,” Parigi said, “because he wants to continue the relationship with us. Normally, cost reports for a critical access hospital is somewhere in the area of $30,000 to $35,000. This guy has agreed to do it for $11,800.”

The commission voted unanimously to approve the work and set the date for two special meetings regarding hospital bylaws for 4 p.m. and 4:15 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 22.

The commission’s next regular meeting is scheduled for 6 p.m. Monday, March 16, at 25 Norris Street.

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