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BOCC commits $270k for surgery equipment and dialysis

Idabel, OK - On Monday, July 24, all three commissioners in McCurtain County voted unanimously to commit $270,000, respectively, to purchase equipment for McCurtain Memorial Hospital's surgery department and dialysis.

MMH President & CEO, Brian Whitfield, presented a multi-page proposal to the commissioners which gave them two options. The first option was for refurbished equipment that carried no warranty and while cheaper by nearly $100,000 - Whitfield noted that getting service and parts for the equipment would be a struggle and costly. The second proposal, totaling just over $268,000, carried a warranty on the equipment and included a four-year service agreement.

CEO Whitfield told the commissioners this morning that for more than eighteen months now, since the new administration had taken over at MMH, "the county commissioners have supported the hospital in critical equipment purchases when needed." He went on to say, "It has been a pleasure working with you gentlemen on the hospital projects."

Also sitting in was District 2 candidate Tony Hill.

Board Chairman, John Wayne Williams, District 1, opened the floor to Mr. Hill to make any comments or ask questions. Hill voiced his reasoning between the two proposals that to purchase refurbished equipment with no warranty could be costly in the long run. Mr. Williams and Mr. Bamburg agreed.

Two of the three sitting commissioners praised the hospital. Mr. Williams said that he had five family members who, at one time or the other, presented to MMH and the hospital saved their lives. Commissioner Bamburg shared Williams' sentiments. Mr. Bamburg summed that, "We have to have this hospital," and members of the public in attendance agreed.

The new equipment will include two dialysis machines, a C-Arm radiology machine and a number of other surgery pieces. The funds used to purchase the equipment will come from ARPA funds that the county still has. Commissioner Beck questioned whether the county's attorney, Mark Matloff, gave the clearance to purchase this equipment and Chairman Williams said yes, as did the county's contracted attorney, David Floyd.

The hospital re-started its surgery program in May 2023 and less than 30 days later, the hospital's new general surgeon, Dr. Michael Brown, was doing procedures. In just over 45 days, the hospital has performed over 60 surgical procedures.

Commissioner Bamburg requested receipts for all county purchased equipment once the purchases were made.

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