City board reviews MSHA expenditures next week

By Thomas Wilson
star staff

  A capital expenditure bringing hundreds of new patient beds and new diagnostic equipment to several hospitals in the Mountain States Health Alliance network comes before a city board for rubber stamp approval next week.
  The city of Elizabethton's Health and Educational Facilities Board is scheduled to meet Sept. 23 to approve a $40 million bond issuance for diagnostic equipment at three facilities and wholesale replacement of patient beds and furniture at five MSHA hospitals.
  "We are spending about $6.5 million on new patient beds and furniture," said Marvin Eichorn, chief financial officer for MSHA.
  Approximately 700 new patient beds will be brought in at the system's facilities of Sycamore Shoals Hospital in Elizabethton, Indian Path hospital and Indian Path Pavilion rehabilitation hospital in Kingsport, Johnson City Medical Center (JCMC), Johnson City Specialty Hospital, and North Side Hospital.
  Bonds used to fund the new equipment are being issued through the Health and Educational Facilities Board for the city of Johnson City. As a 501(c)3 tax-exempt organization, MSHA's status as a non-profit requires capital expenditures be approved by a municipal board in the city or county where the capital dollars are being spent.
  "Whenever you go to issue tax exempt (bonds) you have to go through procedures to get it qualified as tax exempt," Eichorn said.
  Other big ticket items include diagnostic tools to treat patients at three MSHA facilities.
  Indian Path Medical Center in Kingsport will take delivery of a new $1 million CT scanner. A new MRI machine will be established at North Side Hospital in Johnson City at a cost of $1.5 million. Radiology and cardiology diagnostic equipment as well as a special cardiology diagnostic suite totaling $1.5 million will be put into use at JCMC, Eichorn said.
  A CT scanner uses x-ray technology with the enhanced ability to display a combination of soft tissues such as muscles, organs, and blood vessels, all in a single image. Radiographers perform CT scans to diagnose kidney, lung, liver, spine and blood diseases, cancer, tumors, and cysts, as well as blood clots, hemorrhages, and infections.
  MSHA has already received approval for the expenditures from the health facilities board of Johnson City.
  Eichorn said the facility began taking delivery of new patient beds on July 1. He said almost all the health system's existing patient beds had been fully depreciated. He also said the system was exploring after-market use for the existing patient beds.