Hospital Board Spotlights Progress in Capital Projects and Construction

Hospital board members were updated on all territorial building projects Wednesday, where several measures were also approved in executive session.

At the beginning of the meeting, the board congratulated member Marise James on winning a Senate seat in November and expressed condolences to the friends and family of Warren Briscoe, obstetrics and gynecology physician, who passed away last week after serving the Virgin Islands community for 18 years.

Daryl Smalls, executive director of the Territorial Hospital Redevelopment Team, reported on seven projects on St. Thomas-St. John and eight on St. Croix, including the near completion of discussions on whether to dispute or agree with Federal Emergency Management Agency costs to replace the Myrah Keating Smith Community Health Center on St. John.

After two joint peer reviews, “we are confident that we made significant inroads that will lead to a successful and more accurate fixed cost offer which will facilitate the development of a new state of the art Myrah Keating Community Health Center,” Smalls said.

The team is also developing a plan for the interim Schneider Regional Medical Center that will fit with the final plan for the permanent structure and obtaining a fixed cost offer for the permanent facility.

Meanwhile, mold remediation should be completed by the end of the month at the Charlotte Kimelman Cancer Institute and demolition of selected areas will begin when remediation is completed. Solicitations for construction work to rebuild are underway and the first phase of the evaluation process for needed equipment will begin by the middle of December, based on proposals received. The intent is to coincide the arrival of equipment with the completion of the facility, said Smalls.

Completing the initial process for developing a construction schedule for the permanent rebuild of the Juan F. Luis Hospital on St. Croix will be followed by obtaining a fixed cost offer, Smalls said. By the end of the year, the team will formally accept or dispute specific areas of the project.

“Since we have successfully attained the status for a prudent replacement hospital, the next step in the process is to obtain a fixed price offer,” Smalls said.

On St. Croix, several contracts have been extended for services to complete the temporary Juan F. Luis hospital, known as JFL North, Smalls said. As work continues, the V.I. Water and Power Authority has connected electricity to the concrete masonry unit and water, oxygen, medical air and vacuum and the fire pump/suppression system have also been connected. The 260,000 gallon water tank has been filled and liquid oxygen and propane have been delivered. One emergency back-up generator is connected and the second one is on-site.

The design/build drawings for the critical administration building are to be completed this week and then items such as the elevator can be ordered. The building is also the main entrance to the hospital and cardiac care center. Construction should begin by January and be completed by July, Smalls said.

An interim plan for dialysis is needed until a permanent solution is found, he said. Proposals have been received and once the buildout for the housing for non-clinical employees, storage and supplies has been completed, demolition can begin at JFL.

Before the executive session, the board approved a six-month contract-extension to a collection agency and to Archive America to pay the outstanding balance of $225,500 to dispose of old records that are inaccessible because they weren’t indexed at the time they were stored.

During the executive session, Dr. George Rosenberg was approved as the acting chief medical officer for SRMC, Finch reported.

The spending authority of the chief executive officers for both hospitals and Smalls was increased to $250,000 provided all procurement procedures are followed and board approved documents are used. The decisions must be kept electronically so board members have access and the actions are reported monthly.

“Truthfully, this is not going to change much as most things in the hospital world cost more than $250,00,” said Finch, and added that in the last year only 10 procurements would have been within the CEO’s authority.

Documents have moved back and forth negotiating new contracts for nurses and hopefully will conclude soon, according to Finch. The board learned one proposal has been signed with the union for licensed practical nurses and negotiations continue with the other two unions — registered nurses and advanced practical nurses.

Also, there was a brief discussion on a donated leave policy. The matter was referred to the human resources departments for further study.

There was a full board quorum for most of the meeting. Present were Finch, Dr. Jerry Smith, Jenifer O’Neal, Health Commissioner Justa Encarnacion, Dr. Anne Treasure, Greta Hart-Hyndman, Fay John-Baptiste, Marise James, Bosede Bruce and Dr. Frank Odlum.