Donation From Tribe, Mha Brings Clearer Vision To Health Programs

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Local nurses, doctors -- and residents -- will get a clearer picture about health thanks to a donation to Payson Regional Medical Center by the Tonto Apache Tribe and Mogollon Health Alliance.

The donation has allowed the purchase of a high-resolution PlasmaVision screen that will allow participants in health care programs to see the screen from anywhere in the room at the hospital's learning center. As with a VCR, an instructor will be able to interrupt a video being shown and key in on a particular part of the presentation.

PRMC CEO Russell Judd declined to say how much the high-tech screen cost, but did say "the significant donation is more than has been spent on any computer system in town."

Judd said the screen was a collaborative effort on the part of the tribe, MHA and the hospital.

The flat screen has a 400-to-1 contrast and is on the cutting edge of technology, according to registered nurse Daryl Oft, telemedicine site coordinator for the hospital.

"No matter how close you get or what angle you're at, it keeps the same focus," Oft said.

The screen can be used with the Internet or cable TV and has unlimited access to the University of Arizona Health Science Library.

Health care workers and specialists can benefit from ongoing training, he said.

The screen will also be used to present health programs for the community.

The first of these is scheduled for Dec. 14. "The Puzzle that is Diabetes" seminar is free to the public and will be held at PRMC's Learning Resource Center from 6:30 p.m. to 8 p.m.

A second seminar, "Happy Holidays with Diabetes," will be held from 6:30 p.m. to 8 p.m. Dec. 17.

Both seminars will be presented by Stephanie Rider, RN., a diabetes specialist at PRMC.

PRMC officials presented representatives from the tribe and the MHA with a plaque last week at a luncheon in their honor.

Farrell Hoosava, a Tribal Council member, Jeri Johnson, vice chairman of the tribe, Sue Pretsch, president of the board of directors of MHA, and Skip Haley, MHA director, were on hand to see how the screen worked at its first showing.

It had been installed at the hospital at the end of October.

Pretsch called the new technology "mind-boggling."

Dr. Herbert Schwager, medical director at PRMC, said, "This valuable piece of equipment truly puts us in front. We will be able to offer college courses and advanced degree programs through Northern Arizona University and the University of Arizona."

Schwager said he welcomed the new hospital administrator and the alliance with MHA and the Tribe.

A doctor at PRMC for the past 12 years, Schwager said he has previously been among the minority wanting to provide education through the hospital.

Hoosava said he was glad the tribe could be a part of PRMC's vision.

Haley said, "This new technology is a major step forward as we, the alliance, attempt to communicate with the community."

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