Eureka Springs Hospital waiting to lease GeneXpert machine

Tuesday, August 25, 2020

By Samantha Jones

The Eureka Springs Hospital doesn’t have the GeneXpert machine yet, but Alliance Management Group representative Darrell Parke is confident that the hospital will lease or buy the “gold standard” testing machine in the near future.

On Monday, Aug. 17, Parke updated the Eureka Springs Hospital Commission on the machine, which the commission agreed to lease on May 26. Parke said the hospital has run into “complication after complication after complication with that particular device,” saying he thinks it’s a corporate issue that’s holding things up.

“At first, it was our history of payments and the issues with Allegiance that made them hesitant to lease it to us, but I think what we’re finding out is it’s more of a corporate issue on their side,” Parke said.

Chairman John House asked what that issue is, and Parke said it’s that the company is having trouble producing and delivering the machine.

“We really think there’s something corporate going on that’s preventing us from being able to move forward with that piece of equipment, but we will prevail and we will get there,” Parke said.

Parke said the hospital continues to operate within the same COVID-19 guidelines. The requirements for reporting test results have increased, Parke said.

“So we are spending more time providing daily reports to the state and federal employees regarding patients … supply usage and so forth,” Parke said. “We are constantly monitoring our supply usage because pricing has really gone up in regards to supplies, so we’re really cautious about how we approach that.”

House asked if the price increase is across the board or just related to supplies for COVID-19, and Parke said it’s across the board.

“Demand is high and supply is low, so they jack prices up,” Parke said.

The lab relocation is underway, Parke said, now that the radiology equipment is in place. Parke said the maintenance crew is working on the plumbing, electricity and “all the pieces that need to be put so we can get the lab moved.”

“From a lab perspective, we’ve been going out reaching out to former clients trying to repair damage we’ve created in the past … and just excite people about the new services we offer,” Parke said. “Now that our new equipment has been tested and assured and ready to go, we can start doing more direct-to-the-public type services.”

Parke said the emergency room doctors are working well, but the ER isn’t seeing its typical volume. That’s probably because people are staying home more, Parke said, and staying safe.

“People in Eureka are just staying home. They’re not doing anything. They’re not going anywhere,” Parke said. “Mainly, it’s the numbers that are down … so as a result, our in-patient and observation days are down coming out of the emergency room.”

“One good thing to take from that for the community is if they do need the ER, they can get in quickly,” House said.

“They will be seen quickly,” Parke said. “That they will. It’s really impressive how the community has stood up to this. We’re not seeing a lot of panic. It’s just really impressive.”

June was the first full month since Dr. Paul Daidone returned to the hospital, Parke said, and it’s going great. Parke said he’s had many conversations with Daidone and other hospital staff about the strengths and weaknesses of the hospital and how Daidone would like his career to move forward.

“His desire is to move into more of the detox alcohol drug rehab programs, so working with him we were able to meet with a couple of drug and alcohol programs that are now referring patients to us for detox,” Parke said. “They’re not there for very long, but it adds days to our numbers we wouldn’t normally see, so I thank Dr. Daidone for that.”

Chief nursing officer Vicki Andert has decided to move to a part-time role as the hospital’s compliance officer, Parke said, so the hospital is getting ready to interview applicants for the chief nursing officer position.

“We have put together a group of people at the hospital that will be interviewing the next chief nursing officer applicants,” Parke said. “We’ve got two applicants so far … and we’ll get those put together and packaged and sent to the commission.”

Treasurer Barbara Dicks presented the financial report for July, saying interest on the money market was $610.71 totaling $1,199,047.84 in that account. Dicks said the CD brought in $2,140.11, totaling $427.088.23 in that account. The checking account is at $18,112.96, Dicks said, and the commission’s total assets are $1,644,249.03.

In other business, House announced that Dr. Christopher Baranyk chose not to renew his position on the commission after it expired. House thanked Baranyk for his service.

“He frequently gave us alternative ways of looking at things, and I appreciated that,” House said.

The commission’s next regular meeting is scheduled for 6 p.m. Monday, Sept. 21, at 25 Norris St.

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