The Kenai Peninsula Borough Assembly spent nearly a million dollars on Central Peninsula General Hospital at its regular meeting Tuesday night in Soldotna.
CPGH Inc. board president Diana Zirul and hospital chief financial officer Mike Gutsch made a presentation regarding the purchase of an information management system for $894,000, which the assembly approved unanimously.
Gutsch said the hospital's consultants recommended an integrated and modern system to tie the various departments together.
"The reason we need this is because of problems with our current system," he said. "Our needs are becoming more complex than when we purchased it."
Gutsch said the consultants, Superior Consulting of Michigan, recommended a system from one company, at a cost about $75,000 less, but the hospital wanted something even more advanced, and settled on a system by Medical Information Technology Inc. of Westwood, Mass.
"Meditech caters to medium and large hospitals and focuses on integrated health care systems," Gutsch said.
Before settling on the Meditech system, Gutsch said, he did two dozen reference checks, had an on-site demonstration and visited three other hospitals using the system. He said it became clear it was the best system for CPGH.
Gutsch said over five years the hospital will save $122,000 on software updates and maintenance costs over the current system.
Assembly member Drew Scalzi asked Gutsch why there was such a difference.
"We have separate vendors for different systems in the hospital," Gutsch said of the current set-up. "Since Meditech is integrated, it will cost less. And we'll get quite a bit more than what we have already."
Gutsch said later that the system will allow clinicians to access their patients' records over the Internet in their own offices. He said the hospital also is looking at someday allowing data from patients hooked up to monitors in the hospital to be streamed live over the Internet so doctors can see how their patients are doing in real time from anywhere in the world. That technology is available, but will not be purchased with the system at this time.
"They have systems for hospitals from 50 to 600 beds," Gutsch said. "Meditech's system is something we can grow with."
He said the hospital will start installing the Meditech hardware as early as next month and begin building its database by September. He said the company will conduct training and phasing in of the new system for six months and then run it alongside the old system to make sure it works as planned.
In other assembly news:
n Several borough schools will be spiffed-up this summer, as the assembly approved a number of resolutions awarding bids for improvements. The largest award is for $518,490 to Blazy Construction for renovations at the former Kenai Elementary School, which houses the Boys and Girls Club of the Kenai Peninsula, the Aurora Borealis Charter School and the Kenai Alternative High School.
The school also will get a new roof, supplied by Peninsula Roofing, which bid $67,840.
The company also won bids to replace the gymnasium roof at Nikiski Elementary for $58,842, and for the gym roof at Sears Elementary for $32,586.
The company Stark-Lewis LLC, won a bid of $388,818 for roofing replacement at the E.L. Bartlett Elementary-High School in Tyonek.
Floors, too, will get attention at several schools. 4-D Carpet One was awarded two bids for flooring replacement. One, for $19,937, is for work at Kenai Central High School. The other is for $20,428 for work at Paul Banks Elementary in Homer. Steve Rutherford Floor Covering also won two contracts -- the first for flooring replacement at Redoubt Elementary for $28,585, and the second for work at Nikolaevsk Elementary-High School in the amount of $20,428.
n The assembly also passed a resolution commending outgoing borough assessing director Jim Lawyer for his 13 years of service. Lawyer resigned earlier this month, saying only that he serves at the pleasure of Mayor Dale Bagley.
Lawyer was praised by the assembly for his reorganization of the personal property tax department and documenting more than 12,000 new properties onto the tax rolls that had previously been missed. The assembly members gave Lawyer a standing ovation after president Bill Popp read the resoluion.
The assembly's next meeting, on July 18, will be at 7 p.m. at the public library in Seldovia.
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