The Monroe County Hospital and Clinic Board of Trustees approved purchase of a new liquid oxygen storage tank during their April 28 meeting.

On Feb 22, the hospital’s current liquid oxygen storage tank, which they have had since 1978, began spewing oxygen outside after the pressure release valve popped. After having the tank examined it was determined it would cost more to repair it than to purchase a new tank.

The approved new tank will cost $94,469 and $22,000 for installation. It will be placed in the same areas as the previous tank, so it will not require any new construction to ready a place for the tank.

The board also approved bringing in temporary tanks at a cost of $9,536.92 to use until the

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new tank it installed as the current tank is losing a lot of liquid oxygen which is expensive and wasteful.

The board also approved the purchase of five new CareAware mobile scanning handheld devices and related technology and services from Cerner Corporation. They will be used by staff to replace computers on wheels that are currently used in some areas. The total cost will be $82,194.81.

The new devices can be used to scan patients and medication when nurses give patients medication at their bedsides or in the infusion center. They can be carried in the nurses’ pockets. They can also be used to do things like take pictures of wounds to share with doctors, take vital signs and more. All the information will be on a secure network.

The devices will first be used in a few areas of the hospital including the infusion center, the emergency room and medical-surgical. It also would have been much easier to use a small handheld device in treating COVID-19 patients as it would have been much easier to sanitize the small devices after each use rather then the computers on wheels.

The board also heard from Brenna White about fraud and abuse of the Medicare and Medicaid programs. They learned about what is considered fraud and abuse, how cases are found and prosecuted and talked about some of the outcomes of some cases.

While looking over the month’s safety statistics the board learned that there had been no patient falls, no medication events, no readmissions and no infections for the previous month.

CEO Veronica Fuhs said the medical clinic has reopened for Saturday hours from 8-11 a.m. The hospital is also now providing workman’s compensation, pre-employment screens and return to work services for Monroe County and DOT physicals as well.

According to CFO Larry Brown, the hospital has begun repaying WPS money received last year due to COVID-19. MCHC did not have to use any of the $4,022,578 so they have held it in a separate account and will be using it to replace money being taken out for repayment.

Brown said the hospital is still working on a supplemental questionnaire for loan forgiveness for the Paycheck Protection Program money they received which was more than $2 million, but he estimated that would be completed shortly and then they would just be waiting to see if the loan forgiveness is approved.

CEO Fuhs let the board know the hospital is no longer assisting Monroe County Public Health with vaccine clinics and is no longer hosting them for public health due to a drop in the amount of people seeking vaccinations. Fuhs said as of the beginning of March hospital staff had a vaccination rate of around 35 percent for completed vaccinations and a rate of about 43 percent for those who had received at least one dose.