Buena Vista Regional Medical Center will open bids tomorrow for an addition to host an in-house magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) equipment - equipment Joan Kurtz, Director of Radiology, says is bigger and better.
It will be the first three tesla MRI system in Northwest Iowa, says Kurtz. Tesla is a unit of measurement for magnet field strength in MRI equipment. Currently most systems are 1.5 tesla or less, says Kurtz. She says she knows of systems like these in Iowa City, Des Moines and Omaha.
"It has twice the magnetic strength so the imaging is improved," says Kurtz. With the high magnetic strength the image quality will be improved and the speed of scanning is faster, she says.
"It allows us to do some advanced applications - like Breast MRI and cardiac imaging." Breast MRIs is a supplemental tool for detecting and staging breast cancer as well as other abnormalities.
The BVRMC Foundation recently received a large donation to help fund the majority of the cost of the building to house the MRI, Foundation leader Brad Strader said.
The identity of the donor or donors has not been revealed, but the person or persons will be recognized after the completion and the addition will be named for the donors.
BVRMC CEO Todd Hudspeth said the budgeted amount for the project was $2.5 million with about $1.5 million for the MRI scanner, and remainder of the funds to go towards construction and power conditioning equipment.
Currently the hospital is leasing a semi trailor with mobile MRI equipment. Kurtz said the new addition will be located on the south side of the building where the MRI trailer is currently docked. During construction of the new MRI suite, the trailer will be shifted to the west to accommodate for the construction, said Kurtz.
An architect has estimated the project could take about six months. "We're hopeful we'll be able to break ground yet this fall," says Kurtz.