Thursday, November 21st, 2013
By Doug Drexler
Hospital to buy ICU on wheels
COLDWATER - Mercer County Community Hospital is getting a new ambulance that can serve as a mobile intensive care unit while taking patients from its emergency room to a higher-level facility.
Mercer Health Board of Governors on Wednesday night approved spending $125,000 on the new squad.
The board earlier approved putting a new care unit on the current ambulance at a cost of $90,000. However, it learned its membership in the state municipal funding incentive program for vehicle purchases - a buying consortium for public entities - could reduce the cost of a $160,000 ambulance to $125,000, said George Boyles, the organization's vice president and chief financial officer.
Chief Executive Officer Lisa Klenke said the hospital is currently licensed to operate the ambulance at the advanced cardiac life support level. The new vehicle will be set up to operate at the higher mobile intensive care unit level. Among the upgrades needed was installation of a generator to ensure continuing operation of emergency equipment.
Klenke said the hospital will further explore what staffing requirements will be needed to increase the mobile ICU licensing requirement and see if it would be worth the investment. She said the ambulance transports about 40 patients per month.
"It will be nice for our community," she said. The board expects the ambulance to be ready in March 2014.
The board also learned the group operating the Grand Lake Regional Cancer Center has tapped the county to help refinance the outstanding debt on the facility and its loan on a $1.4 million linear accelerator added in July.
The group will refinance the accelerator with a seven-year, tax-free bond and $3.6 million on the center's refinancing project over 15 years, Boyles said. He added the refinancing should save the center's owners money, but he was unsure of the savings because the interest rates are subject to the transaction's closing today.
The hospital is a partner in the center with Grand Lake Health System, St. Rita's Medical Center and Van Wert County Hospital.
Klenke also told the board the hospital's command center has been moved from throughout the administration area into its own room, which will be used to control operations in case of a large-scale community disaster such as a tornado.
Boyles reported that last month was the highest-grossing fiscal month in the hospital's history at $8.3 million. The increase in revenue was due to a busy month in the surgery department, including 34 births and 11 joint replacement surgeries.
The hospital is operating at a 4.64 percent profit and now has $3 million in cash reserves, he added.
"We're very proud of that," Boyles said.
Klenke also informed the board there will be a memorial service at 7 p.m. Dec. 5 at the Maria Stein Retreat Center for Dr. Suhila Noureldin, who died Nov. 5 following a sudden illness in Sudan. Attendees can bring photos or memorial letters, which will be sent to Noureldin's family, she said.
Noureldin was a doctor at Mercer Health from 2009 to July 2013.
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