North Valley Hospital repairs ongoing

Generator, server, nurse calls system at various stages of refurbishment

TONASKET – Repairs for one of North Valley Hospital’s generators, as well as well as the server the contains patient records, were ongoing after both experienced various levels of failure during the past month, reported facilities and IT director Kelly Cariker at the Thursday, Jan. 31 Board of Commissioners meeting.

The generator, an 800 kilowatt diesel that was installed as part of the new building construction project in 2010, expereinced a catastrophic during its monthly load test in early January. The Western Avenue sidewalk has been blocked off for several weeks as repairs are being dealt with.

“We have the (repair) quotes now,” Cariker said. “They are steep … but after the deductible, the insurance will cover the rest.”

The generator was past its two-year warranty but only had 94 hours of use on it, but he said it threw a rod through the block during its load test and not while actually being used by the facility.

He said the two bids being evaluated range between $80-100,000, but involve different approaches to the repair work.

Either way, he said, the generator will have to be removed by crane and shipped to Spokane for repair. He added that insurance will cover all but the $10,000 deductible for the repair.

Additionally, Cariker said that two drives that hold the operating system for the server that holds electronic medical records failed last week.

“That’s always alarming,” he said. “These were not the drives that held the patient data; we were in jeopardy of losing the server itself.

“As it was, our EMR vendor flew a person out here with a new controller and new drives. They stayed until everything was back up; we were able to get them back up 100 percent.”

The commissioners approved the purchase of a $27,000 nurse call system in the Extended Care facility to replace the one that failed last year in the west wing of the building.

“We’ve been renting a system for several months to keep us in compliance until we could afford a new one,” Cariker said.

Long Term Care director Linda Holden said the temporary system was only adequate as a stop-gap.

“I feel that we could get into hot water… if we don’t move on this,” she said.

Commissioner Teresa Hughes asked if the two bids being considered were adequate.

“Those were the only ones that actually responded to us that were in the state,” Cariker said. “The out of state ones, it’s hard to be competitive when you have to get on an airplane. You’ll also notice, in that bid, they are doing the affidavit and following the small works roster.

“The competing bid, even though it was for more money, they required us to do all the wiring internally. That would be a large hidden cost – you’d have to pay the man hours and material costs. So accepting this bid would keep us out of that.”

The hospital warrants, after dipping to $475,000 earlier in the week, were at $652,000 on Jan. 31, down from $699,000 at the previous (Jan. 10) board meeting. The NVH Board of Commissioners next meets on Thursday, Feb. 13.