Commonwealth Health Center patients who need X-ray tests or CT scans will no longer be referred to off-island facilities after the health corporation finally received last Tuesday a brand new CT scan.
Commonwealth Healthcare Corp. CEO Juan N. Babauta and Emergency Preparedness director Warren Villagomez said the new equipment will replace the outdated machine at the hospital.
According to the two officials, the Siemens Sensation 16-slice CT scanner was shipped to Saipan on Jan. 3 and was formally turned over to the corporation on Jan. 8.
The site where the new machine will be installed is being prepared this week, with installation to follow. Babauta said the installation is expected to be completed within six days and he targets the full operation by middle of the month.
The Center for Medicaid and Medicare Services, he added, is aware of the arrival of the new CT scan and is on top of all the progress and development at the hospital.
CT scan is short for computerized tomography scan. It uses x-rays and a computer to create detailed images of the inside of one's body.
In a survey visit in September last year, Medicare found out that the hospital's CT scan was malfunctioning and that its portable x-ray unit was broken. These were among the major deficiencies cited by Medicare, which will decide on the hospital's “Condition of Participation” next month.
The new CT scanner costs about $300,000 and was purchased from Oka Services Inc. The cost will be paid incrementally in three installments, to be sourced from the hospital's revenue and collection.
Babauta earlier disclosed that the corporation will also receive a free UPS battery backup system for the new CT scan unit, as relayed to the corporation by CHC radiology manager Dan Harding.
The hospital also bought new defibrillators in October last year, resulting in the lifting of the immediate jeopardy status earlier slapped on CHC by Medicare.
Although the three immediate jeopardy statuses have already been lifted by CMMS, the public hospital is not yet off the hook as it needs to rectify 13 conditions of participation identified by Medicare in its report. The corporation's “plan of correction” is still being reviewed by CMMS. A visit from the federal agency is expected to validate this submission.
The fate of CHC's certification will be known in February 2013.