Erlanger Health System is moving ahead with a major sterilization upgrades over a year after it was first approved by the board.
Robert Brooks, chief operating officer, said some costs have increased in the meantime and the overall price will be higher. He said it was found that some air-handling equipment will need to be replaced on campus.
The new contract will be for $9,484,950 per year. There will be inflation increases built into the 15-year contract with STERIS/IMS.
Mr. Brooks said the alternative would be for Erlanger to have to fund $24 million in sterilization equipment and locate 40,000 square feet of space for the operation.
Under the contract, 60 percent of the sterilization of equipment trays will continue to be at Erlanger. In addition, STERIS/IMS will build a new facility at a site on Broad Street that will handle the other 40 percent.
Mr. Brooks said the firm can be penalized if there are lapses in sterilization or if the needed surgical equipment is not in a particular tray.
Kevin Spiegel, Erlanger CEO, said STERIS/IMS is the leader in hospital sterilization. "They are state of the art," he said. The firm has a similar contract with Vanderbilt Hospital in Nashville.
It is expected to take 6-9 months to get the offsite operation up and running. There will be 10-12 months of construction on campus.
Officials said it will be about two years until the program is completely up and running.
Britt Tabor, Erlanger chief financial officer, said the chief concern coming from surgeons is upgrading of sterilization and making sure the correct equipment is on a tray.
Erlanger is now doing 100 percent of the sterilization onsite in a central sterile department that was launched in 1993. A trailer was also used until recently when it was no longer allowed.
The new washer will sterilize a tray in 15 minutes. The current wash time is 45 minutes.
Officials noted that over 10 new operating rooms have been added since the current central sterile department was set up.