Thanks to a lower price tag, Crawford Memorial Hospital will move ahead with plans to renovate its imaging/radiology department.
The CMH board Wednesday voted to move ahead on the project and also discussed looking into the feasibility of also saving money on three sets of outstanding bonds.
The latest round of renovations were given the green light after board members learned the estimated cost had dropped from about $3.2 million to just over $2.5 million.
Interim Chief Financial Officer Gerald Klein said a review of plans for the radiology work turned up redundancies. Eliminating them dropped the price.
Interim Chief Executive Officer Cindy Bradley said many of the contractors who have been working on obstetrics unit - such as general contractor Hannig Construction - still have equipment onsite. They should be able to start on the new job soon, but no time frame was announced.
The OB work is finished. Building and Grounds Committee Chairman Bob Kirk said the Illinois Department of Public Health will likely be contacted next week about performing the necessary final inspection before the unit can be retuned to use.
The radiology renovation is not the only major project on the horizon. CMH's entire computer network - its Electronic Medical Records system - is in need of replacement, it was announced. That could run more than $4 million.
The EMR update is essential to hospital operations. For example, CMH Home Health is no longer able to keep up with growing amounts of federal-mandated paperwork because the system is not up to it.
So, with two expensive projects in the works, Klein suggested a feasibility study on refinancing three sets of bonds, totaling about $12 million.
One set, issued in 2003, only has two payments left - due in 2018 and 2019. The other sets, however, were issued in 2010 and 2012 and will not be paid off until 2031.
Klein said interest on the bonds ranges from 3.5 to 6.75 percent. It may be possible to refinance at as low as 3.25 percent, saving CMH almost a quarter-million dollars a year.
"The lower rates mean a pretty significant savings," Bradley said.
"We're in a strong financial position," Klein added. "Now is the time to do it if we're going to do it."
Board members also said good-bye to Bradley. It was her last regular meeting. Doug Florkowski, CEO of Lawrence County Memorial Hospital for 11 years, was named as CMH's new CEO Wednesday.
"I've enjoyed my time here," she said, explaining it was her favorite interim job in the last 10 years. She praised CMH's "great people" and "wonderful facility."
"We appreciate everything you've done," board Chairman Von Meeks said.
Bradley, interim CEO since the retirement of Don Annis in January, plans to spend some time with her elderly mother before setting off on a long-planned trip to Scotland with her sister.
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Florkowski will take over as CEO July 17.
In other business, the board:
Hired Maxim Healthcare Services Inc. to perform an audit of CMH coding procedures.
Paid architect David Johnson the final $5,000 due him for his work on the OB project.
Approved several policies and procedure manuals for various departments.