The Hardin Memorial Health Board of Trustees approved spending nearly $3 million on state-of-the-art equipment for Tuesday the HMH robotic surgery and nuclear medicine programs.
The investments include an approximately $1.8 million expenditure to lease a Da Vinci robot with the latest technology. HMH’s existing onsite Da Vinci robot’s technology is becoming outdated and the manufacturer no longer is offering some of the system’s instruments and accessories, Assistant Vice President of Surgical Services Rita Pardee said.
“The latest-generation Da Vinci robot allows surgeons to continue performing robotic procedures including general, urological and gynecologic surgeries,” she said. “These procedures are minimally invasive, which translates to better patient outcomes, shorter hospital stays and the ability to stay close to home.”
Additionally, the board approved the spending of $913,188 for new nuclear medicine equipment. The money covers the purchase of a Siemens dual head SPECT gamma camera and a Siemens SPECT-CT system.
Assistant Vice President of Operations Steve White said the hospital’s Nuclear Medicine department currently is faced with aging pieces of equipment beyond its end of service date through the manufacturer.
The current GE MG dual head gamma camera was purchased in 2004 and the ADAC Forte was bought in 2000.
Typical life of a Nuclear Medicine camera is 10 years.
Over the last year, the two units have had a total of 33 work orders placed and more than $45,000 spent on repairs.
White said on Sept. 19, Philips Healthcare released an urgent field safety notice instructing HMH to discontinue use of the ADAC Forte system until further notice.
“We are limping along right now on a 15-year-old General Electric dual head camera,” he said.
Nuclear medicine involves giving patients a small amount of radioactive medication. The equipment detects the radiation emitted by the medication. Further, the SPECT-CT system merges two types of images, providing more precise information.
“It’s essential we keep pace with the evolving needs of nuclear medicine technology,” said Enterprise Director of Medical Imaging Bert Jones in a news release. “This investment ensures we provide the highest quality diagnostic imaging and exceed our patients’ expectations for comfort and convenience.”
Jones also noted the equipment positions HMH to handle increasing patient volumes. In the last two years, demand for nuclear medicine services has increased 11 percent to approximately 320 procedures each month at the hospital.
“These investments are important steps forward as HMH meets the growing demand for advanced services throughout our region,” Jones said.
The board also approved the purchase of five new anesthesia machines totaling roughly $260,000.
Pardee said the Aestiva machines currently in place no longer be supported by GE. She said they received notice Oct. 31, 2017, support for the models onsite would cease by June 30, 2020.
Also at the meeting, Interim Chief Financial Officer Pam Gallagher presented financial reports for August and September, reporting a net operating loss of $471,000 in August and a gain of $421,000 in September.
In addition, the board reviewed the 2019 audit results from BKD CPAs and Advisors. The firm issued a “clean” opinion of 2019 financial statements, which recorded a net operating profit of $1.36 million for the fiscal year ending June 30.