The Commonwealth Health Center needs a biomed department that will maintain and fix its medical tools and equipment, according to a report prepared by the Commissioned Corps Hospital Assistance Team.
The creation of a biomed department will safeguard the delivery of healthcare services and sustain the hospital's progress, according to the “Sustainability Plan” the team submitted to Gov. Eloy S. Inos and the Commonwealth Healthcare Corp. last Friday
The team said that the current system is ineffective in capturing all required preventive maintenance across thecorporation in an organized, systematic manner.
“Stand up a biomed department to ensure appropriate, cost-effective repair and preventive maintenance planning and activities are ongoing,” states the report.
Equipment repair and maintenance at CHC came to a screeching halt starting last year following the failure of the cash-strapped healthcare corporation to pay its vendor.
Pacific Biomedical Services Inc., which has been maintaining the hospital's equipment for more than a decade, put on hold all its services on Jan. 15, 2012, until the corporation is able to come up with a payment plan.
It was learned that the vendor's contract was reinstated soon after Medicare placed the hospital on an immediate jeopardy status in September last year.
PBSI is only one of the many service providers at the hospital that have been experiencing delays in their collection of payments.
At the last CHCC board meeting, Dr. Sharlene Osman, director for Medical Affairs, disclosed that only one person repairs the equipment at the dialysis unit.
Despite the recurring concern of Medicare to hire more biomeds, Osman said that this has not happened and it continues to be a concern.
The team of federal medical experts also recommended creating a completely separate facilities management department.
This autonomous section would have a dedicated facilities engineer, maintenance supervisor, energy manager, administrative assistant, appropriate journeyman level, maintenance workers, and laborers.
“The CHCC has high utility bills for water, sewer, and power. Opportunities exist to reduce the use of water and electricity if actively managed. A dedicated energy manager position would easily pay for itself by an estimated utility savings of $20,000 per month,” said the team in its report.
For the facilities manager position, the team strongly recommends a USPHS officer on the basis of cost-effectiveness and accountability. The facilities manager should visit outlying clinics at least quarterly.
The purchase of a maintenance software package to track work orders, schedule preventative maintenance and document environment of care requirements was also advised. This software should be used corporation-wide, to include outlying clinics.
All recommendations should be in place by December 2013, the team said.