By Timothy Cox
A new form of high-tech imaging soon will be available on a monthly basis at Mercer County Community Hospital in Coldwater and Community Medical Center in Celina.
Mercer Health, the organization that runs both the hospital and medical center, reached an agreement this week to bring a mobile Positron Emission Tomography (PET) scanner to the area. The equipment is used to help diagnose tumors and give doctors a better view of soft tissues than some other imaging techniques.
The mobile unit, operated by Medical Outsourcing Services, an Indiana company, will spend one day per month in the county, splitting time between Coldwater and Celina.
"The contract with Medical Outsourcing Services will allow us to bring state of the art technology to residents of Mercer County," said Mercer Health CEO T.J. Padden. "The PET scans done here will be of the same quality as those done at metropolitan area hospitals. This will save a good deal of inconvenience and travel time for those who need a PET scan."
The technology will benefit cancer patients being treated at the Grand Lake Regional Cancer Center in Celina, Padden said. The cancer center was a joint venture involving Mercer Health and other regional hospitals. PET scans give oncologists a clear view of tumors, which allow them to determine how far cancer has advanced. This makes its easier to prescribe treatment, Padden said.
The imaging equipment also can be used to diagnose certain bone diseases.
Mercer Health has found success in bringing in highly specialized equipment on a regular basis. The organization has similar contracts that allow the hospital to offer high-end mammograms twice monthly and magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) scans several times per month.
"It makes it a cost-effective way for us to offer these services," Padden said.
Local officials could not justify buying a PET or MRI scanner because the overall cost would outweigh the benefits, he said. The hospital could not spend millions on equipment that would only be used a couple of times per month, he said.
In other business, board members learned that newly hired human resources director George Braid has resigned after just 30 days on the job. Braid came highly recommended by the committee who interviewed him, but Braid had never worked in the health care field, Padden said.
"That transition just didn't work out," he said.
Hospital administrators have solicited resumes from the Society of Human Resource Administrators and plans to begin interviewing four candidates as soon as next week. The position pays $60,000-$70,000 annually.