Despite being in the middle of a $50 million construction project, Memorial Health is tripling its 2019 capital improvement budget over the previous year.
After spending $3.3 million in 2018, next year will see $9.9 in capital improvement expenses, which cover renovations, technology upgrades and equipment purchases. Included in those expenses are some major upgrades within the imaging departments.
Memorial Hospital is currently building a new inpatient tower and outpatient facility, but items in the capital improvement budget cover upgrades within the existing walls of the health system.
Memorial will be spending $1.4 million to purchase new 3D mammography equipment for the hospital, City Gate facility and the new Urbana medical center.
Memorial Executive Vice President Spence Fisher said the move to 3D units over the existing 2D mammography machines comes in response to patient requests.
“People are seeking out 3D now,” Fisher said
He said Memorial has lost some patients who are seeking the enhanced imaging and there has also been a tremendous interest in the service from the Urbana community.
Fisher said the units, provided by Hologic, offer a clearer, more comprehensive image than current units. This allows doctors to be more accurate when performing biopsies, he said.
Each of the three units has an identical price tag, however some additional expense is being incurred at the Urbana facility to prepare a space for the new mammography unit.
The largest expense in the 2019 capital improvement budget will be for the purchase of a new MRI machine with expanded breast and prostate technologies. The new machine, which will replace a unit purchased in 2007, is budgeted for $2.3 million.
Fisher said the new MRI will offer enhanced imaging. Additionally, patients will notice the device has a wider, shallower tube, which should help alleviate the potential claustrophobic feel of older units.
On top of equipment purchases, $943,000 will be spent upgrading the computer network and wireless capabilities of the health system.
Fisher explained that $656,000 budgeted for hospital pharmacy renovations is necessary to meet new guidelines for chemotherapy drugs. He said the upgrades involve storage of the drugs and airflow improvements for workers who handle them.
The hospital will also be spending $600,000 as it prepares to upgrade its electronic record system. Other expenses include flooring ($400,000), phone system replacements ($395,000), physician office remodeling ($227,000) and other, smaller facility and technology improvements.
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