County approves MRI

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Moffat County commissioners approved The Memorial Hospital's lease-purchase agreement for a magnetic resonance imaging machine, allowing TMH to finalize the deal with Northwest Health Specialists, the MRI's owners.

After receiving the commissioners' approval Tuesday, TMH Director Randy Phelps said he expected the deal to be closed within the next week. TMH's Board of Trustees is expected to approve the lease at a meeting at 7 p.m. today.

Attorney Tom Thornberry said no changes would be made that would affect money or the substance of the lease before the deal is closed. But some language could be changed for legal purposes.

The acquisition of the machine is expected to generate a net income of $282,000 annually for TMH.

Income will be generated by technical fees and physicians' charges, Phelps said.

TMH will lease the MRI on an annual basis. A separate lease agreement will be signed for the Moffat Building (Northwest Health Specialists) on Yampa Avenue, where the MRI is housed.

Total expenses would be $33,828 a month -- $3,917 a month for five years for furniture, fixtures and equipment not including the MRI, $21,258 a month for five years for the MRI and $8,653 per month for 20 years for the property.

The MRI will remain on the tax rolls for the duration of the lease. If TMH appropriates funding for the full terms of the lease, the machine will become the hospital's property and at that time will leave the tax rolls.

Phelps said the manufacturer of the MRI that the hospital wants to acquire has said purchasing a comparable machine would cost $950,000, not including shipping or the estimated $75,000 to install the machine.

Phelps also said the $1,138,000 price of the building is less than what it has been appraised for.

Hospital officials intend to continue the existing agreements with the physicians who rent office space at Northwest Health Specialists Center.

Plans could include providing other outpatient services through the clinic, such as an off-site surgery center.

Phelps said it could be used to provide clinic space or X-ray, laboratory or bone densitometry services.

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