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Schneider Board Concerned About Brown Water, Power Surges

Brown water in Schneider Regional Medical Center’s hemodialysis unit and power surges damaging equipment, were the main concerns at a hospital board meeting held Wednesday night on St. Thomas.

SRMC’s Vice President of Facilities Management Karen Hodge was repeatedly asked by board chair Cornel Williams about increasing how often the water is tested, which Hodge said is done once a month. Williams suggested upping it to once a week and sought support from the hospital’s Chief Executive Officer Alice Taylor, who suggested testing the water every time it comes out brown.

The brown water is coming out of the hot water taps, but board member Dr. Murli Daswani reported that so far, testing has revealed it has not caused any infections in the unit.

The hospital has also been having problems since Hurricane Earl with power surges, which Hodge said has damaged a lot of equipment that the hospital now has to pay for. She said a two-year-old estimate of what it would cost to put in place a system to protect against the power surges adds up to about $790,000, which Williams said might now cost more than $1 million.

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Hodge and some of the other board members said it would be helpful if the V.I. Water and Power Authority would give them notice when they are having power problems so they can switch to generator backup. Hodge also said the hospital needs to replace a radiator in one of its generators but needs to find someone to come into the hospital to fix it.

Otherwise, board member Vincent Samuel said that while the hospital is ending the year with a deficit, it’s not as high as expected.

The deficit was expected to be $522,459 to date for fiscal year 2011, but ended up being $48,563—largely attributed to $500,000 in reduced labor costs, he said.

Also cited was increased activity in November, with the hospital filling more beds and realizing an increase in patients that could pay for services.

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Brown water in Schneider Regional Medical Center's hemodialysis unit and power surges damaging equipment, were the main concerns at a hospital board meeting held Wednesday night on St. Thomas.

SRMC's Vice President of Facilities Management Karen Hodge was repeatedly asked by board chair Cornel Williams about increasing how often the water is tested, which Hodge said is done once a month. Williams suggested upping it to once a week and sought support from the hospital's Chief Executive Officer Alice Taylor, who suggested testing the water every time it comes out brown.

The brown water is coming out of the hot water taps, but board member Dr. Murli Daswani reported that so far, testing has revealed it has not caused any infections in the unit.

The hospital has also been having problems since Hurricane Earl with power surges, which Hodge said has damaged a lot of equipment that the hospital now has to pay for. She said a two-year-old estimate of what it would cost to put in place a system to protect against the power surges adds up to about $790,000, which Williams said might now cost more than $1 million.

Hodge and some of the other board members said it would be helpful if the V.I. Water and Power Authority would give them notice when they are having power problems so they can switch to generator backup. Hodge also said the hospital needs to replace a radiator in one of its generators but needs to find someone to come into the hospital to fix it.

Otherwise, board member Vincent Samuel said that while the hospital is ending the year with a deficit, it's not as high as expected.

The deficit was expected to be $522,459 to date for fiscal year 2011, but ended up being $48,563—largely attributed to $500,000 in reduced labor costs, he said.

Also cited was increased activity in November, with the hospital filling more beds and realizing an increase in patients that could pay for services.