A last-minute addition to the agenda of the January meeting of the South Central Kansas Medical Center Board of Trustees led to the purchase of a piece of new diagnostic equipment.

The board voted unanimously Thursday morning to purchase the new machine after a presentation from one of the staff members who uses the equipment on a regular basis.

The diagnostic equipment — a treadmill used in tandem with a blood pressure monitor — has presented issues for several months.

The original treadmill has become outdated and the software it uses cannot be updated, said SCKMC staff member Tammie Lynn.

In her presentation to the board, she said the treadmill already had been replaced last November.

But that replacement treadmill was a refurbished model that ended up causing additional issues.

“(It has been) nothing but problems with that,” Lynn said.

While the company from which the treadmill was purchased initially was responsive to the issues — such as problems booting up — SCKMC ultimately returned the treadmill.

SCKMC performs between nine and 20 diagnostic runs per month, but without a replacement treadmill, the testing can not be performed at the facility, Lynn said.

For now, the hospital is trying to keep using the older machine, which is largely not functional. “Sometimes it has a mind of its own,” she said.

In addition to worries about the functionality of the current treadmill, Lynn said some staff were concerned about its safety for pediatric patients — especially the pediatric cardiologist who participates in SCKMC’s telehospitalist program.

The board was presented with two purchasing options during its meeting. The first was for another refurbished treadmill and the second was for a new unit.

The used General Electric treadmill was priced at $8,700, but did not include accessories for the blood pressure machine.

Lynn said the accessories would cost somewhere around an additional $5,000.

The brand-new GE-brand treadmill is priced at $18,750 and includes delivery, setup, training, and accessories for the blood pressure machine.

SCKMC Chief Executive Officer Virgil Watson recommended that the board purchase the new treadmill.

“It’s time,” he said. “Smaller hospitals like Caldwell are able to get help from (larger hospitals).”

But SCKMC is not quite small enough to receive similar assistance, he said.

The board elected to follow through on Watson’s recommendation and purchase the brand-new treadmill.