BCMC to replace chiller machine for HVAC system, plus full board report

An emergency purchase of a chiller machine at Bradley County Medical Center was approved at the monthly board meeting Thursday at the Brunson Medical Complex.

According to CEO Leslie Huitt, “Chillers are the backbone or heart of a complex HVAC system. They remove hot air and return cool air.”

By Tim Kessler
By Tim Kessler

Saline River Chronicle Freelance Contributor

Maintenance supervisor Tim Saunders explained that a 1988 chiller had outlasted its 20-year life expectancy and one of its two sides had gone completely down. If the other side fails, he said the hospital would not be able to perform surgeries or maintain its emergency room.

However, he added that it will take four months to build a new chiller and it would take some time after that to install it.

A motion was approved to spend an estimated $120,000 for a new chiller to come from Small Rural Improvement Grant funds or county sales tax funds.

In other action:

  • Controller Matt Pace said the hospital had a profit of $64,000 in June. Outpatient revenues increased by $300,000 and expenses were down 5 percent. However, accounts receivable increased and collections were lower.
  • Huitt said an interim cost report showed the hospital should receive $417,000 in Medicare reimbursement.

She also said a USDA grant had been finalized and equipment purchases through the grant have begun. BCMC will be participating in a grant that has already been given to the Arkansas Rural Health Partnership for enhancing swing bed programs in critical access programs.

The Legacy program hired an occupational therapist and that program is fully staffed.

Huitt said she had met with architects working on a master plan for the hospital and 75 percent of that project has been completed.

Community needs survey results were reviewed with a community improvement group. One item indicated by the survey is that respondents suggested the hospital needs more specialists.

  • Vice President of Support Services Marilyn Johnson said an emergency preparedness coalition received a grant for equipment. To participate, BCMC must present some documentation and give a probability rate estimate on disaster events such as tornadoes.

Johnson said the hospital will participate in a future communitywide emergency preparation drill.

She reviewed changes made in safety procedures.

Bradley Medical Foundation board met last week and will meet again in September. A subcommittee will consider expenditures of money received in a recent fundraiser.

  • Chief Nursing Officer Jamie Wolfe said the hospital treated 55 positive COVID cases in June although most were on an outpatient basis. He said BCMC was experiencing increased difficulty transferring critical patients.
  • Several policy changes were approved involving weapons, suspected illegal substances and chain of custody, medical marijuana (which is not allowed on hospital property), patient right of access to personal health information, amendment to protected health information, disclosures to law enforcement, accounting of disclosure of protected health information and personal representatives.
  • Huitt said SHIP grant funds up to $170,000 would be used for extensive air conditioning maintenance.
  • Motions were approved to purchase a plasma freezer for $12,133 and a surgery cabinet for $6,049 from sales tax funds.

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