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Thursday, December 21st, 2006

Lab blood analyzer equipment to be purchased by hospital

By Shelley Grieshop
COLDWATER - The board of governors of Mercer County Community Hospital approved the purchase of a $50,000 piece of lab equipment used to analyze blood.
The Coulter LH 500, a hematology analyzer, will perform a complete blood count (CBC) to help diagnose specific conditions and evaluate symptoms of patients, Hematology Supervisor Donna Kueterman told board members meeting Wednesday night.
"The one we're using is 6 years old," she said. "It's been out (for repair) about 25 times in the last year, no less than that."
Kueterman said the hematology analyzer is used daily for patients and about two dozen times a month for veterinarian services. The machine currently generates between $70,000 and $100,000 per year in revenue, she added.
"Sounds like a no brainer," board member Dr. Tim Heinrichs said, before the board unanimously approved the purchase.
Acting CEO Jim Wermert said Mercer Health likely will chose the 72-month purchase option that also includes a $10,360 annual service fee.
The board also listened to a brief power-point presentation by independent auditor Nick Shipley of VonLehman and Co. Inc. of Cincinnati for the 2005-2006 fiscal year ending in March. Shipley, who was contracted to analyze the hospital's state audit, acknowledged it was a "down year" for the organization, which ended with a operating loss of $525,970 and an actual loss of $368,288. The previous year showed an operating profit of $973,286 and an overall profit of $1,045,219.
During the 2005-2006 fiscal year the hospital made "significant acquisitions," according to the report, including the new flood wall at the medical center in Celina, an anesthesia machine, a mammography CAD unit, an automated med-dispensing unit, a CT injector and a new ambulance.
Shipley noted the administration and board already are taking steps to improve the current fiscal year by focusing on a variety of actions including a focus on services that bring in the highest revenue. He explained the hospital has shown its most growth in the last three years in telemetry, emergency room, ambulatory, blood bank, EKGs, nuclear medicine, CAT scans/MRIs, halter monitoring (heart), anesthesiology and nutrition.
Board members voted to accept Shipley's report following the presentation.
The board of governors also passed a motion to accept a management compensation report prepared by Director of Human Resources Peggy Schultz. The report lists average salaries of management personnel from similar hospitals and compares those with employees at Mercer Health. The report is to be used as a "tool" by board members and supervisors to gauge salaries of management staff, Schultz said.
Board members also:
• Learned new officers were appointed to the medical staff at the hospital: Dr. Ed Hosbach agreed to continue his position as chief of staff; Dr. Phil Masser will become vice chief of staff; and Dr. Craig Dues is the new secretary/treasurer.
• Discussed strategic planning in executive session but took no action.
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Additional online story on this date
COLDWATER - Colorful poster paint and a big front window have led to more than a half century of tradition at the Don and Kit Desch home.
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