SIHD faces difficult decision on CT scanner

By Deb Murphy

Southern Inyo Healthcare District board members’ jobs haven’t gotten significantly easier since the hospital re-opened under the management of Healthcare Conglomerate Associates almost two years ago.

Southern Inyo Hospital

Monday afternoon, the board wrestled with a decision on the fate of a non-functioning CT Scanner in an emergency meeting and will make its final decision this afternoon (Wednesday) based on an updated cash flow assessment.

The cost to the district has to be weighed against the amount of time the hospital will be without a vital piece of diagnostic equipment.

Here’s the background: the current 64-slice scanner was slated to be sold for $400,000 and a 16-slice scanner bought for $200,000. As part of the hospital’s bankruptcy negotiations with GE, the loan buy-out was reduced significantly to $150,000—leaving the facility with a $50,000 gain.

Then the scanner’s tube burned out and the deal died on the table.

So, here’s the quandary: After serious negotiations between GE and HCCA staff, the district can trade the tube-less scanner for a 16-slice CT and pay the difference of $59,000 in 120 days. The option: Repair the equipment at a cost of $190,000, hope to sell it for up to $500,000 and replace it with the 16-slice. The repair cost would require $95,000 within 30 days and the balance in six months.

Medical staff told the board the 16-slice model would be adequate for the hospital’s needs, but also stressed the timing was vital. The repair and eventually replace option would take approximately a week. On the other hand, the trade would take at least two weeks.

Board chair Richard Fedchenko asked Chief Financial Officer Alan Germany to do an analysis of cash flow. Germany’s tentative analysis didn’t turn up an extra 95 grand.

The meeting was adjourned until this afternoon to give Germany an opportunity to contact state funding sources.

There is a light at the end of the cash flow tunnel. As part of the bankruptcy proceedings, the district put together a plan to generate additional income streams. The plan is preliminary and will be evaluated by the bankruptcy court.

In a phone conversation, Fedchenko explained the plan, recommended by a municipal advisor, includes a $5 million general obligation bond to pay off all past debts, an increase in Transient Occupancy Tax within the healthcare district and an increase in parcel taxes. All these options are subject to voter approval.

Even with all the projections of new revenue streams and additional services and programs, and the hospital isn’t self-sustaining,” Fedchenko explained.

As an acute care facility, SIH provides medical services to communities from Independence to all points of Inyo County south.

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SIHD Emergency Board Meeting

On Wednesday, October 4, 2017 at 4:30 pm, the Southern Inyo Healthcare District Board of Directors will hold their Special Meeting at the SIHD Conference Room, located at 501 E. Locust St, Lone Pine, CA 93545.

This meeting during Open Session will include Consideration and approval of CT scanner repair or replacement proposal.

The district encourages citizens to attend board meetings to stay updated on important
community issues.

 

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