Hospital sues contractor over water leaks


Local News

September 26, 2018 - 11:15 AM

Allen County Regional Hospital Board of Trustees and other hospital representatives, met Tuesday. They are, from left, Terry Sparks, Loren Korte, Jeff Johnson, CEO Tony Thompson, chairman Patti Boyd, Jim Gilpin, Chief of Staff Dr. Charles Wanker and Ryan Coffield. REGISTER/VICKIE MOSS

A battle over water leaks that have persisted since Allen County Regional Hospital opened in 2013 is headed to court.
Hospital trustees voted unanimously Tuesday to file suit over the leaks, after working for years to resolve the issue with the architect, HFG of Wichita, and the builder, Murray Company of Overland Park. Earlier this year, the trustees and attorneys worked with a mediator but were unable to reach agreement. The trustees will sue the contractor, after determining the company apparently was responsible for the problems. The trustees are not suing the architect.
Leaks were found in at least six showers in different areas of the hospital resulting in water seeping into patient rooms. The first incident was discovered almost immediately after building construction wrapped up. Extensive examinations of the leaking showers revealed problems with construction and incorrect building specs, such as the wrong type of grout between tiles. Cameras inserted into the walls later found issues with other showers, even though leaks had not breached patient rooms.
Several other problems were found during a final “punch list” of construction issues, but every problem except the leaking showers was resolved within the first year of the hospital’s operation.

IN OTHER news, the trustees:
— Will hear a presentation from St. Luke’s Health System of Kansas City at 11:30 a.m. Oct. 17 about possible lease options. The trustees are not asking health care companies for bids to lease the hospital as they pursue companies interested in managing operations, but decided to talk to St. Luke’s after interest from county commissioners, medical staff and others.
— Approved a final “request for proposals (RFP)” to solicit bids from health care companies interested in managing the hospital. The RFPs will be sent to companies today. They companies have about a month to submit questions, then have until Nov. 16 to return proposals. The trustees hope to conduct interviews in December and make a decision by the end of the year.
— Discussed an evaluation process for ACRH CEO Tony Thompson. Trustees chairman Patti Boyd presented an evaluation form she obtained from the Kansas Hospital Association and asked trustees to review it and submit other questions they would like to include. They’ll discuss the matter again at a strategic planning meeting Oct. 20.
— Heard from Alan Weber, attorney for the county who also advises the trustees, who said he’s compiling a list of names for potential trustees. Boyd’s term and the term of Sean McReynolds expire at the end of the year, and county commissioners will appoint their successors. Several people, including employees, have submitted suggestions, Boyd said.
— Heard a financial report that showed the hospital was $115,000 ahead of its budget projections in August. The excess was attributed to a high number surgeries, an unexpected $88,000 payment from the state for Medicaid and a strong “payer mix.” Private insurance companies such as Blue Cross Blue Shield pay better than government programs like Medicaid and Medicare, so the hospital does better when it sees more patients with private insurance compared to those programs or those who are uninsured.


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