PINEDALE – Sublette County residents now have access to enhanced quality health care close to home. This is in part due to a generous monetary gift from an anonymous donor to the Rural Health Foundation of Sublette County (RHF).
The donation was utilized by the Sublette County Rural Health Care District (RHCD) to replace the Pinedale Medical Clinic’s aging computerized tomography (CT) scanner.
The current scanner was installed with the construction of the Pinedale Medical Clinic in 2007 and was at “end of life” from not only a replacement part standpoint, but also a regulatory one. In the past year, Centers for Medicare and Medicaid has issued stringent regulations regarding the amount of radiation dose that is delivered to patients receiving CT scans. The regulations also have accompanying monetary penalties to facilities that are using dated equipment.
“The RHCD has lost potential revenue associated with those penalties. In addition, numerous scans have been sent to outlying facilities for completion due to the local provider’s concerns regarding radiation dosing. The substantial gift could not come at a better time, especially when you look at the lack of monies available in county for capital projects of this extent,” stated Malenda Hoelscher, RHCD administrator.
The RCHD applied to the RHF to request the funds used to purchase the scanner. After collaboration with St. John’s Radiology department and Jackson Hole Medical Imaging, both of whom work closely with the RHCD’s imaging department, the RHCD identified a CT scanner that would not only meet the current and future needs of the community but also the regulatory guidelines.
David Kappenman, Pinedale Medical Clinic medical director, said, “To be able to keep our patients close to home while providing quality scans with safe radiation dosing is fitting with the mission of the RHCD in providing accessible, progressive patient care. In addition, the new CT scanner has the ability to adjust the amount of radiation given based on the size of the patient. This means less radiation for children and smaller patients.”
The outdated CT scanner was removed the week of March 26 with the new scanner installed shortly thereafter and made operational the next week.
“Everything went as planned in regards to the set-up of the new scanner including test scans to St. John’s, quality checks and staff education,” stated Kayla Bowers, lead imaging technologist. “We are also excited to announce a third CT-certified technologist on staff with Patricia Berndt, from the Marbleton Medical Clinic recently receiving her national CT certification. We have all received extensive training on the new scanner and look forward to the additional scans that will be available to our community all while ensuring safe radiation doses and high quality scans for the radiologist to view.”
Hoelscher added, “The staff and the board of the RHCD would publicly like to thank the RHF and the anonymous donor for their generosity and commitment to healthcare in Sublette County. We are grateful for these partners and look forward to shared projects in the future.”
The Rural Health Foundation of Sublette County is a 501(c)(3) charitable organization that serves as a strong advocate for the citizens of Sublette County to help ensure that our health care systems are of the highest quality, safe, and accessible to all. Its vision is “advancing integrated health care services” and its mission is “improving health and wellness services for Sublette County.” Call RHF executive director Jeanne Brown at 307-683-6066 if you wish to contribute or have inquiries.