In March 25 IssueBy Greg WellsTimes Journal Managing Editor
Constructed in a factory building, on 12-inch “I” beams and delivered in sections; was how a Pennsylvania Hospital was built, at a fraction of the cost of conventional construction.
That was the message brought by two men from Sanderling Healthcare, Dr. Jerome Tannenbaum and Jorge Soudy.
Tannenbaum said his company had examined the needs of Russell County Hospital 7 years ago, prompting nods from Board Chairman Jeff Hubbard.
The company representative said their program would help with several of the hospital's issues at present.
“Its a catch-22, you can't get financing without the plans and drawings,” Tannenbaum said. “But you can't get plans and drawings without spending money.”
Since all the units built by the company are taken from an inventory of pre-designed rooms preparing drawings is a simple procedure for them, he explained.
Tannenbaum went on to give the example of overhead equipment in the operating room.
He said the same equipment from the same manufacturer usually sells for $400,000 but purchase them to install it in their operating room units at a cost of $104,000.
He indicated that this hospital could be looking at something on the order of $260 per square foot, with some of the equipment for the rooms included in that cost.
He added that they are built more durably than a conventional building, with a longer guarantee and that the cost quoted from the beginning, once rooms and options are chosen, would be the cost of the installed units.
The only variable in the construction, he said, would be the cost of installing the foundation for the units.
A final option he offered was financing, “We can finance it on a lease purchase option,” Tannenbaum said.
He said they had examined the hospital's books and their bankers had assured them it was, “do-able.”
As the presentation wrapped up members of the board indicated that the option presented was on that they consider as they moved forward with the renovation-expansion plans for the hospital.
As to the Thursday night meeting went on to other topics Interim CEO George Walz told the board that the surgeon they had been hoping to recruit had opted to go to Arizona, and they were back to square one on that search.
He said they had another CEO candidate to interview, over a year after the hospital's management firm, Alliant, released the previous CEO.
Walz also said the new backup generator to protect the hospital's power supply has been installed, but wiring was yet to be completed.
CFO Ken Kimsal told the board that 10 of the 17 steps in the application process have been completed with the USDA for expansion-improvement funding for the hospital.
Jeff Buckley, with Alliant, told the board that they were looking for experienced firms in hospital construction to design the work here.
Kimsal later told the board that the system for dealing with digital images from x-ray and other imaging departments was available to all the doctors, and is as integrated as possible with the other systems, without adding software to fully integrate it.
The board approved the additional $17,000 in software, after some discussion over why it wasn't part of the original deal and whether it would have been if the integration had taken place over a year ago as it should have.
Kimsal went on to address the government mandated electronic patient records program, and two phrases popped up repeatedly.
“We have a 4-years window to meet the criteria that haven't been drafted yet,” He said. “óNone of the systems available now are approved under the guidelines that the haven't yet been drafted.”
He said though that there were systems, including Meditech, which the hospital presently uses, that are expected to be among those approved and that it would take three years to put any new system into place.
In all he indicated that the cost estimates for the first phase of the change over would be $1.6 million.
But he said the good news was the the best estimates based on present guidelines was that $1.5 million of that could be reimbursed by the federal government.
The board indicated they wanted more information on the process at the next meeting.
As for the February budget numbers Kimsal said the inpatient revenue figures exceeded budget projections, at +2 percent but outpatient numbers were further behind at -9 percent.
In all the hospital was -6 percent to budget for the month for revenue, but finished the month over budget for the month.
The year to date profit figures continue to remain better than budget, with $1.1 million in net receipts.