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Bids to be sought for old hospital demolition

Trustees also update charity care policy, prompt-pay discount

March 21, 2012
Anne Blankenship - Managing Editor ( , The Daily Freeman Journal

The Van Diest Medical Center Board of Trustees Tuesday night approved a measure to seek bids for the demolition of the former Hamilton Hospital building.

Bids will be received and opened on April 25 at 11 a.m. in the VDMC?conference room, according to Administrator Palmer Schneider.

The board voted in September 2011 to tear down the old building after unsuccessful attempts to find a buyer or use for the structure. The building has remained vacant since the new hospital facility was opened in September 2010.

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The former Hamilton Hospital building has been vacant since September 2010. The board of trustees will review bids to demolish the structure on April 25.

"I really believe we have exhausted all of our efforts to find a buyer,"?Schneider said.

Schneider said preliminary estimates put the demolition costs around $500,000.

"There is asbestos in the 1930s addition,"?he said. "We've had suggestions that it could cost $90,000 to $100,000 to remove."

Schneider told the board that half of the project would be funded in the present fiscal year, and the other half would be funded in the next fiscal year.

The board is expected to meet April 25 following the bid opening to review bids and possibly award the contract.

In a related matter, a fiberglass fuel oil tank at the old facility will need to be removed by April 21, Schneider said. The tank, which served as a back up for the boilers, must be removed by a certified excavating company, he said. The contractor will remove the tank and cut the lines through the concrete. The administrator said he didn't anticipate that any leaks would be encountered as the tank was upgraded several years ago.

Equipment from the old hospital will be placed on the auction block sometime near the end of April. Schneider said Ryerson Auctions will be handling the sale and that a list of the equipment is being compiled.

In other business, the trustees approved a change to the prompt pay discount policy. What was once offered to both insured and non-insured patients, the 20 percent discount off of the total bill will now only be offered to uninsured patients. Hospital officials cited possible legal ramifications with the insurance industry and Medicare as the reason for the change. Payment must be made within 45 days of the billing to receive the discount.

The guidelines for charity care were also changed by the trustees. The Finance Committee of the board recommended changing the guidelines from 125 percent to 150 percent of the federal poverty level guidelines for full charity care. Hospital officials noted that while charity care may increase, the number of bad debt writeoffs will decrease.



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