By ANDY GARDNER
MASSENA -- The Massena Memorial Hospital Board of Managers has decided 7 – 1 to take out a five-year lease for a new Siemens CT scanner for $1.2 million.
The $1,260,135 purchase price will include a $1 buyout option at the end of the term. Board member Darrell Paquin was the sole dissenter.
“This will give us CT capabilities seven years into the future,” said Ed Hamel of the board’s finance committee.
The hospital’s current CT scanner has the capability to take 16 images, or “slices,” to create a three-dimensional image of the body’s inside – the new model will be able to take 128 slices. MMH CEO Charles Fahd noted that the new scanner is safer – it will expose patients to a lower dose of radiation for a shorter period of time.
The scanner itself will run at $1 million, the work station will cost $208,000 to set up, related equipment will set the hospital back $34,000 and $18,000 will pay for electrical and conduit modifications to accommodate the new device. The lease will include $91,364 in interest by the end of five years. The first year of maintenance, operating costs, and dyes are covered under the deal.
Paquin said he was opposed to buying the scanner because he thought it unwise to add to the hospital’s existing debts.
“You’ve got a negative debt service rate and you’re going to take on more debt? It doesn’t make sense to me,” he said, adding that he recognizes there is a genuine need for the new device.
Paquin questioned why the board doesn’t use federal reimbursements to the tune of $1.9 million they are anticipating and buy the scanner outright – Fahd said he thinks it a better idea to leave the money in the bank.
Hamel was weary of promises from government, stating that it “can change its mind in five minutes.”
“We need the equipment, desperately … and we need the cash,” Fahd said. “It’s better to pay … interest … than pay cash right now.”
Fahd also noted that CT scans garner the hospital significant revenue – they perform about 60,000 scans in the last six to seven years which brought in roughly $33 million.