The Memorial Hospital must upgrade it's sprinkler system to correct deficiencies found during a recent state inspection, but the cost to do so is significantly less than TMH administrator Randy Phelps originally thought it would be.
At Wednesday night's TMH Board of Trustees meeting, the board accepted a bid by Fire Tech in Steamboat Springs to upgrade the sprinkler system for $4,745.
Initially when the sprinkler system deficiencies were found in January, Phelps estimated the cost for upgrades would be a minimum of $25,000.
"It was not easy to find someone that could do the enhancements needed to the sprinkler system," Phelps said Wednesday night.
"We were fortunate to find this outfit in Steamboat. I thought this was going to cost in the area of $20,000."
The hospital is required to make the upgrades to the sprinkler system due to an unannounced initial life safety code survey of TMH on Jan. 30.
The Colorado Department of Public Health said the hospital needed to install sprinklers in two operating rooms, a medical records storage room, a laundry room and a dirty linen storage room.
It will cost $1,320 to install sprinklers in the laundry room, $850 in the linen storage room, $800 in the medical records storage room and $1,775 in the two operating rooms.
The upgrade to the hospital sprinkler system must be completed by August in order to meet the standards required in becoming a critical access hospital, which the board voted to become last fall.
By becoming a critical access hospital, TMH opens itself to cost based reimbursements from the federal government for Medicare patients. It has been estimated that the recent conversion will result in a $950,000 increase in annual net income for TMH. The federal government created the critical access program to help rural hospitals stay in business. The increased revenue generated from being a critical access hospital will be used as a funding mechanism for a new hospital building, hospital administrators hope.
Administrators plan to build a new hospital where the current hospital sits for $18 million.
"I recommend we do this so we can tell the state we're in compliance with the identified deficiencies," Phelps told the board before they voted Wednesday night. "This was a result of the critical access state inspection and we have until August to get it done."
Board member Ron Danner made the motion to accept the bid from Fire Tech and board member Sue Lyster seconded.
The motion was unanimously approved.