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Tuesday, April 23, 2024
HomeNewsLocal newsV.I. Hospitals Deemed Hurricane Ready

V.I. Hospitals Deemed Hurricane Ready

The V.I. Government Hospital and Health Facilities Corporation Territorial Board members discuss hospital reconstruction Wednesday night. (Teams screenshot)

In addition to discussing medical staff and reconstruction funding, the executive directors for the Schneider Regional Medical Center and the Gov. Juan Luis Hospital updated the territorial hospital board on disaster readiness, given a potential Category 5 hurricane looming in the east.

Tina Comissiong, chief executive office at SRMC, said the roles played by staff during a disaster have been reviewed by the incident command and that three shifts will be activated if necessary. Generators and supplies have been refilled and a plan to relocate patients will be implemented. The Myrah Keating Smith Community Health Center on St. John is under construction, so the patients would need to be relocated, she said.

The CEO said the hospital’s incident command met with the Virgin Islands Territorial Emergency Management Agency earlier in the week and will activate the plan if directed by VITEMA.

Juan Luis Chief Executive Officer Doug Koch said the hospital’s plans include treating dialysis patients immediately before a storm and immediately after. The command structure has been trained and arrangements are being made for services, such as food, that would be necessary.

Koch pointed out that the new temporary hospital was built to withstand 175 mile per hour winds, theoretically, but plans to move patients next door to the V.I. Cardiac Care Center, if necessary, are being put in place. Fuel, water and other liquids and equipment have been checked and replenished. Koch said the plans have been shared with and approved by the medical staff.

“We all hope for everybody’s sakes your plans aren’t needed,” Christopher Finch, board chair, said.

Before adjourning into executive session, the board approved additions to the hospitals’ policies, procedures and guidelines for the Territorial Board that included a write-off policy for bad debts and a time extension for Clifton Larson-Allen, JFL’s auditing firm.

After the executive session, Finch outlined items that were approved by the board.

  •  J. Benton Construction will be awarded the contract to rebuild the Charlotte Kimmelman Cancer Institute on St. Thomas at a cost of $29,180,045.
  • The board approved requesting FEMA to allow funds to be redirected to add Positron Emission Tomography CT equipment to the Kimmelman rebuild. A PET CT detects early cancer, abnormalities in the brain and the effects of a heart attack.

“We would have room for funding for it. We would not need to ask for more funding,” Finch said. “It would be important to the community.”

  • Finch said they expect a fixed-cost offer from FEMA for the Schneider facility soon.
  • Leased space for the hospitals’ redevelopment team on St. Thomas was approved by the board. After losing a bid for a more expensive space, a 5,000 square-foot space that includes a conference room and storage was located across the street from the St. Thomas hospital for $20,000 a month. The lease is for six years, which is the estimated time to complete rebuilding SRMC.

Several change orders were also approved for the temporary St. Croix hospital, including the critical administration building.

Board members attending Wednesday’s virtual meeting were Finch, Dr. Jerry Smith, Jenifer O’Neal, Kevin McCurdy, Dr. Frank Odlum, Greta Hart Hyndman, Faye John-Baptist and Health Commissioner Justa Encarnacion.




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