Marin General Hospital, a 190-bed community facility in Greenbrae, Calif., has invested heavily in a 15-year, $90 million relationship with Philips Healthcare to enhance its diagnostic imaging capabilities that include outsourcing management of the technology to the vendor.

The hospital currently has one CT scanner and will implement another, as well as mobile C-arm X-ray systems in operating rooms to free up space, new X-ray suites in the outpatient and emergency departments, ultrasound and a 3 Tesla MRI Scan.

Marin General is breaking ground in 2016 on a new replacement hospital, scheduled to open in mid-2020, when another round of imaging technology will be deployed, says Mark Zielazinski, chief information and technology integration officer. This includes nuclear medicine, fluoroscopy, and three cath labs: cardio, electrophysiology and interventional radiology. The hospital also is looking at upgrading patient monitoring systems. Philips also will manage some equipment already in the hospital from other vendors, such as the existing CT scanner from GE Healthcare.

Under the contract, two Philips experts will work onsite: a director of client services and an engineer. They will assist with design services and clinical education on the new technologies, according to Zielazinski. Overall, Philips “will be a strategic partner with us for all planning,” he adds. Both organizations are setting up a project governance structure during the next 60 days.

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What made this huge move for a community hospital possible, Zielazinski says, was a financial arrangement that sets a fixed dollar amount payment every year for 15 years, eliminating spikes in capital spending. Further, the addition of many new imaging systems will differentiate the hospital in its region while bringing in new revenue streams.

Marin General considered GE Healthcare and Siemens technology in addition to Philips, but the fact that Philips has offered the fixed dollar payment plan for several other hospitals, combined with an assessment of the vendor’s performance and experience, meant that “Philips offered a better approach,” Zielazinski says. “I believe over time these types of arrangements will become normal.”

Under the fixed dollar payment plan, Marin General can decide to go in other directions and reduce or expand its technologies. But overall, the payment plan gives a high level of financial certainty, he adds.

 

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