NV Hospital chooses new CT scanner

Shane Pyper shows off North Valley Hospital's current CT scanner. That scanner has reached the end of its life cycle; Pyper's recommendation for a replacement was approved by the NVH Board of Commissioners last Thursday. NVH/submitted photo

Shane Pyper shows off North Valley Hospital’s current CT scanner. That scanner has reached the end of its life cycle; Pyper’s recommendation for a replacement was approved by the NVH Board of Commissioners last Thursday. NVH/submitted photo

Community health education seres slated to begin in April

TONASKET – Even in the midst of taking care of basic infrastructure needs – the oft-discussed boiler system and malfunctioning backup generator often on the forefront – North Valley Hospital District has kept its focus on another needed replacement: the hospital’s computed tomography (CT) scanner that it has been looking at upgrading for the past year.

The old General Electric CT has reached the end of its useful life as its lease has expired (and since been extended to the end of 2014) and has increasingly lost operational time for a variety of repairs.

Shane Pyper and Noreen Olma explained the process they went through to choose the new GE C660 scanner, an upgrade that actually will cost $735 per month less on lease than the outgoing unit.

“After doing the site visits I felt the GE unit was best for a number of reasons,” Pyper said. “It’s a low-dose CT; it would be the lowest in the valley. Hopefully it will bring in business if we advertise that it is low-dose.”

Pyper said that he didn’t automatically go back to GE, also considering Toshiba and Siemens units.

The new CT is a 32-slice unit that, with its software package, functions as a 64-slice.

“We weren’t convinced GE was the best just because we’ve always been GE,” Olma said. “It was, do we want to stay with the status quo or make everyone sharpen their pencils? We were pleasantly surprised. We know what we’re getting with GE. We know their service…it will be the same engineers and technicians in the same place.”

The new unit was included in the 2014 budget, as was the construction of the new CT shell that will be needed to house it. Originally the shell, which will be much closer to the emergency room than the current unit, was to have been built as part of the larger construction project, but was postponed due to the district’s financial issues until it was necessary. The new unit also would not fit into the old unit’s current home.

“We originally wanted to put the old CT in the new room but we had to cut that part of out of the project,” Olma said. “We left the old one in its current spot. It’s reached its end of life, so we’re taking advantage of the need to replace it, get a new system and finish the room.”

Olma added that building the new shell for the new unit should help make for a seamless transition.

“That’s the biggest piece to me is, we should have zero downtime,” she said. “We don’t want to miss one exam while we’re installing.”

Community education

Business Development Director Terri Orford reported that she had finalized the hospital district’s community outreach education schedule.

First up, she said, would be a course presented by Dr. Missy Swenson on women and heart disease.

The courses will include:

  • Women and Heart Disease, April 24, 6:00 p.m.;
  • Family and Friends CPR, presented by certified trainer Shauneen Range, May 8, 6:00 p.m.;
  • Respiratory Care, presented by Respiratory Therapist Ken Radford, June 26, 6:00 p.m.;
  • Healthy Eating, presented by Registered Dietician Amber Hall, July 24, 6:00 p.m.;
  • Physical Therapy, presented by Dr. Jeff Massart, Aug. 28, 6:00 p.m.;
  • Breast Feeding Basics (in both English and Spanish), presented by OB Coordinator Pam Thacker, RN;
  • and Colon Health and Cancer Prevention, presented by Dr. Donald Sebesta, Oct. 23, 6:00 p.m.

The courses do require registration as space is limited and varies by session. Register online at www.nvhospital.org/wellness-program-registration simply call 509-486-3163.

Orford added that the hospital’s Facebook page has returned, though with stricter policies than what it had before.

“It’s more of a message board for us,” she said. “People can still ‘Like’ posts and make comments, but they have to be approved by me according to the standards we’ve set up.”

Orford said she also had applied for a number of grants, the most significant of which would provide three quarters of the funding to replace old, inefficient windows in the Extended Care facility.

The Board of Commissioners next meets on Thursday, April 10.

About Brent Baker

Brent is a reporter for the Gazette-Tribune. Prior to working at the G-T, he was the sports editor for Sunrise Publishing from 2000-2005 in Michigan. He subsequently owned and operated Buckland Media, a high school sports website, in Michigan until 2010. He and his wife Kim, who have an adult son, moved to Tonasket in 2010. Brent started work at the G-T in 2011.

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