SB Clinic awaits “new” CT-ScannerJan 6th, 2012 | By William Dilella | Category: News
At the last 2011 Council meeting, held on December 20, members debated the merit of repairing a major aspect of the current parish clinic. The council went over several possible plans to pay for the repairs for a broken CT scan unit, weighing the possibility of spending tens of thousands of dollars on repairs or otherwise losing a major source of revenue for the health care clinic.
St. Bernard’s Health Clinic is operating as a critical part of the Parish’s medical system until the new hospital opens, scheduled to take place in April of 2012. That clinic recently experienced a serious technical shortfall, when their CT scanner was rendered unusable— even more damaging due to the fact that the same machine was planned to be used in the hospital’s own lab settings.
The plan proposed repairing the machine for around $30,000, which would get it back into operation. Following the completion of the hospital, when a new CT-scanner could be placed into the facilities, the current machine would then be worth more as a trade-in machine if it were functioning than if left as is.
However, several Councilmen said that the numbers about repairs and trade-ins being thrown around were too speculative to vote on immediately.
“I don’t see spending $25,000 on a machine that is problematic,” said Ray Lauga, District A, citing the lack of a service plan or maintenance on the current machine over the last year.
“I recognize the fact that the three profit centers for healthcare are diagnostics, surgery and emergency,” said Councilman-at-Large West Frank Auderer. “[But] I’d like to have some time to review the numbers before I vote on this.”
Councilman-at-Large East Wayne Landry argued that the CT-scan money was nominal compared to the amount that the Hospital Service District would have to spend if the machine was left alone and the Hospital was forced to either buy a brand new machine—without the assistance of the old machine’s trade-in value—or forgo having a key diagnostic tool.
“They put the clinic’s revenue stream in jeopardy,” said Landry. “In a litigious world, do you think the [staff] at the clinic are going to take responsibility for patient care when they can’t give a proper diagnosis?”
After several attempts at securing funding, the Council moved that spending the money was necessary, and that the machine was crucial to both the clinic and future hospital, but that weighing out the options without actual figures or bids to review was unwise.
However, soon after the meeting took place, the Council was able to reach an agreement, to use money from the soon to be established contingency fund. That fund balance—which was created several weeks ago from the most recent budget amendment that moved allocated funds from defunct departments and vacant parish positions—was amended to include a line item for the CT-scanners repairs.
Councilman Landry said that regarding immediate money for repairs, the Hospital Service District will discuss fronting the money for the time being, until the Parish can reimburse them from the contingency fund, until such time at the fund can be established as part of the 2012 budget.