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Thursday, August 11, 2022
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Holiday Shipping Delays Hurting Hospital’s Bottom Line

Budget woes at Gov. Juan F. Luis Hospital have been exacerbated by delayed parts shipments for the hospital’s money-saving solar panels and diesel generators, but the materials should arrive any day now, officials told the governing board Wednesday.

Two large diesel generators, which were installed at the hospital in early 2010, can provide about half the hospital’s power needs for 7.5 cents per kilowatt hour (less than the 31 cents charged by the V.I. Water and Power Authority), helping considerably with the facility’s multi-million dollar annual electric bills.

But both have been down, awaiting parts since the items were serviced in December, said Peter Abrahams, vice president of operations at the hospital. Volvo corporation is shipping the parts to its St. Croix outlet, Abrahams said.

Competion of a smaller, but also money-saving, 30-kilowatt photovoltaic electrical generating system for the hospital has also been delayed. Steel structural pieces needed to mount the photovoltaic panels have been held up by the holiday rush, Abrahams said. With holidays over, that material too should arrive very shortly and construction should go quickly, he said.

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“We are hoping by the end of January or in February,” he said.

In other business, all of Luis Hospital and its grounds became tobacco-free as of Jan. 10, acting Chief Executive Officer Darice Plaskett told the board. No smoking signs were posted, employee-smoking urns have been removed, and the pharmacy and gift shop now stock products aimed at helping patients quit tobacco, she said.

In the wake of several surveys finding faults in the hospital’s kidney dialysis procedures, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMMS) and Luis Hospital directed the hospital to take several actions, including hiring an outside interim manager for the kidney care clinic from a list of CMMS-approved doctors.

The hospital picked Larry McGowan of Texas-based Nephrology Services, and a contract was signed, Plaskett said. As part of the same agreement, the hospital also hired quality monitor Barbara Landreth for the kidney clinic. According to Plaskett, both began work Jan. 6.

Present during the board meeting were Chairman Valdemar Hill and board members Deepak Bansal, Carmelo Rivera and Imelda Dizon.

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