Finance Committee approves necessary expenditures

ALPENA – The Alpena Regional Medical Center Finance/Cost Containment Committee approved the January financial report during its Thursday meeting. The committee accepted the report with operating fund disbursements of $9,690,408 with R&I disbursements for the month of $280,060 and write-off of uncollectible patient accounts of $564,865 with recoveries of $90,832.

A replacement recommendation was made for the water main and fire pump to bring the ARMC up to code.

“It’s way overdue,”committee member Beach Hall said. “This is something that needs to be done.”

The cost of replacing the outdated main and pump is estimated at $304,301, and was approved by the committee.

Hardware for the installation of EMR (NextGen) for Alpena Orthopaedic Associates also was approved for purchase at a cost of $18,404. This includes the purchase of PCs needed for the EMR record physicians and flatscreens in the exam rooms to provide patients with privacy while viewing x-rays. The viewing area for x-rays currently is located in the hallway where people are constantly walking by and there is a lot of commotion. These flatscreens would provide the privacy needed to discuss patients health.

Surgical Services requested the purchase of a new Zeiss Ophthalmic Microscope due to the old microscope being outdated and well over its estimated life period. The cost of a replacement microscope is $43,892. This microscope is used in anywhere between 20-25 cases per week in the OR. With a new microscope, smaller incisions can be made with a larger field of view, allowing the surgery and the healing process to be faster.

A recommendation for intelligent medical objects software implementation for Stage 2 meaningful use Meditech upgrade from Charter was requested by the MIS department.

“It allows sharing between hospitals and practices,” Charles Sherwin, vice president of business development and clinical studies, said. “Instead of an image of a sheet, a doctor could actually look at it and graph it…now it’s actually raw data you can manipulate.”

The purchase price for this software is $16,000.

“I think most people will say it’s worth it. It’s a difficult transition between computer and paper. We’re not there yet, but we’re close,” CEO Karmon Bjella said.

George Smart, vice president for finance and information systems, said that when something is sent to the government, it has to be in standardized format, and this software does that.

The board also approved a new capital purchase policy in which new boundaries were set as to what comes to the board and what Bjella would be able to approve. The new policy would allow the chief executive officer to have board authority to approve all capital purchases up to $100,000. The finance committee will be informed of all discretionary capital purchases in an excess of $100,000.

“It is a very cumbersome process for us … just because it’s capitalized, not expensed. If it were expensed it would be much more streamlined,” Smart said. “The current capital policy is outdated, significantly.”

The policy states that under no circumstances will capital equipment be purchased without the appropriate authorization.

Nicole Grulke can be reached via email at or by phone at 358-5687.