Improving emergency power system on agenda

The Iberia Medical Center Board of Directors will discuss issues that arose during Hurricane Barry earlier this year at a meeting Thursday. The hospital lost power after the fuel pump for the primary generator went out and the backup generator went out because fuel that was to be pumped from a storage tank to it was powered by the primary generator. The power outage led to an evacuation of patients to other facilities.

The Iberia Medical Center Board of Commissioners will hold its first regular meeting without former Chief Executive Officer Parker Templeton Thursday evening to address two capital projects aimed at improving the hospital’s emergency power system.

One project will improve the way the hospital’s generators are connected to the hospital’s power system and how they are configured.

The $125,000 project is designed to interconnect the two generators so that the primary generator takes over in the event of an outage, with the secondary generator taking over if the primary should fail.

The backup power supply became a concern after Hurricane Barry. During the storm the hospital lost power, forcing dozens of patients to be evacuated to other medical facilities.

One of the issues that occurred during Barry is that the fuel pump for the hospital’s primary generator failed. But because that generator was also providing power to the fuel pump of the second generator, the backup generator failed when fuel in its day tank was empty, even though the hospital had a full storage tank of fuel available.

The generator problems became a point of dissent during the board’s meeting on July 25, with several board members arguing that the issues with the generators should have been addressed prior to the storm, even after Chief Operating Officer Shane Myers explained that the generators had been tested in the weeks prior to the storm.

Board members also raised concerns over the reliability of the hospital’s transfer switch, which brings the generators online in the event of a power outage.

Templeton announced his resignation to the board during the executive session of that meeting.

Templeton served his last day as CEO on Sept. 30. Chief Financial Officer Dionne Viator assumed the role of interim CEO on Oct. 1.

The board also will discuss adding an emergency power panel for the information technology and laboratory sections of the hospital. That would add a new electrical panel near the hospital’s IT server room and lab to stabilize voltage drops and peaks for the servers and help with the installation of new analyzers for the lab which were approved at last month’s meeting.

Another project, the addition of a new clean room for the hospital’s pharmacy to allow for the proper care and administration of chemotherapy drugs, is also on the agenda. Bids opened last week put the project at $423,200, slightly higher than the $400,000 budgeted. The low bid for the room itself, from JC Construction, was for $303,800. The low bid on the filtration system for the clean room came from Travis CleanAir, at $119,400.

Two proposed changes to the hospital’s governing documents also will be considered. One, a change to the hospital’s rules and regulations concerning doctor’s rounds for acute patients, would add language to make the patient’s attending physician responsible for ensuring that daily rounds are performed and proper notes kept.

The second change, to the hospital’s bylaws, clarifies language regarding active staff without privileges to include licensed independent practitioners as well as physicians and clarify the conditions for consideration as such.

The Iberia Medical Center Board of Commissioners will meet at 5:30 p.m. Thursday in the Board Meeting Room on the hospital’s main campus.

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