Hospital Board OKs $460K contract for company to help cash-strapped Luis Hospital boost revenue
Published: June 24, 2014
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The territorial hospital board on Monday finally OK'd a scaled-back version of a contract for a company to begin work aimed at helping beef up revenues at Luis Hospital - a contract that hospital officials have been trying to get the board to sign off on for months.
The move came at a meeting of the territorial hospital board on Monday morning on St. Thomas, a meeting the board did not notify the public about until Sunday afternoon.
The board announced the 9 a.m. Monday meeting to the public in an email sent out after 2 p.m. on Sunday.
Territorial board Chairwoman Lynn Millin Maduro said public notice of the meeting was late because of "human error."
The $460,618 contract the board approved on Monday - a scaled down version of a $1.2 million deal that Luis Hospital officials first tried to get approval for in April - is with The Advisory Board Company.
Hospital officials pushed hard in April for territorial board approval, saying the contract is key for the struggling hospital to move forward, although board members raised questions and concerns about the deal that they said needed to be addressed.
Later, the territorial board had trouble attaining a quorum to conduct business.
Luis Hospital has been without a quorum on its board for almost a year, so the territorial hospital board has to make all decisions - such as approving the contract - that normally would be made by the district board.
The $460,618 contract is to enhance revenue at the cash-strapped St. Croix hospital through various initiatives.
The contract the board approved Monday is actually Phase II of the work that The Advisory Board Company is performing at Luis.
When the territorial hospital board did not approve the initial contract, hospital officials decided to execute a contract with The Advisory Board Company that - at $100,000 - could be signed by interim chief executive officer Kendall Griffith and would not require board approval.
Officials said Monday that the initial contract allowed the revenue enhancement work to get started while they worked to address the concerns of the board about the larger contract.
The original $1.2 million deal was then parsed down to the $460,618 contract approved Monday, they said.
According to information presented at the board meeting, a portion of the original $1.2 million deal that pertained to cost containment work to be done at the hospital was removed from the contract, which now focuses on revenue enhancement.
Board member Angel Dawson Jr. raised the question of whether, after the scope of the work to be done had changed significantly, other bidders should have been allowed to weigh in. He also asked legal counsel whether there could potentially be liability issues with other bidders.
Attorney Loren Kleeger, legal counsel to the board, said it was a possibility.
The Advisory Board Company also has a contract to do similar work at Schneider Regional Medical Center on St. Thomas, a contract that was executed months ago, when the Schneider Regional Medical Center board - which does have a quorum - approved it.
The territorial hospital board on Monday also heard reports and discussed financial challenges at both hospitals.
The board approved applications for initial appointment of medical staff privileges at Luis Hospital and applications for reappointment of medical staff privileges at Luis.
It also approved several policies and plans for the St. Croix hospital.
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