Prmc Opens Imaging Center, Expands Services


The new imaging center for Payson Regional Medical Center opened its doors March 15.

The outpatient imaging center was one of the hospital's biggest projects this past year. Located at 127 E. Main Street, the facility accepts walk-in clients as well as physician-referred patients, Cory Houghton, director of marketing and media relations for PRMC, said. It is open from 8 a.m. until 4 p.m., Monday through Friday. Call (928) 472-3450 for information.


Kristen Kivett, director of radiology for Payson Regional Medical Center, shows off the "stand-up" X-ray machine available in the new imaging center at 127 E. Main Street. With the machine, it is easier to provide services to patients confined to wheelchairs, Kivett said.

Special care was taken in the design and construction of the center's mammography facilities. These are separate from the other radiology facilities, and they include a private waiting room.

"We want to give women comfort, privacy and pampering when they come in for their mammograms," said Kristen Kivett, director of radiology for PRMC. "If this new facility brings in one woman who has not yet had a mammogram done -- because she was embarrassed or afraid -- and she has a good experience (here) and tells others, then we have done what we set out to do."

The mammography facility has breathing room. It is not in the kind of cramped quarters patients found at the hospital. It has changing rooms and lockers where patients can store their belongings during the exam. Patients also have privacy as they wait for their exams after changing. A curtained-off area has been set aside, off a private hall, for women to wait after exchanging their street clothes for comfortable exam gowns.

There are three mammography technicians on staff, so one is available every day.

"They are really wonderful," Kivett said. "They have dedicated themselves to mammography and do excellent work."

Between the routine radiology facility on the Main Street side of the center and the mammography center, there are rooms dedicated to ultrasounds and Dexascan for bone density.

Kivett recommends that women coming in for a mammogram try to have a Dexascan done at the same time.

"It only takes five minutes," Kivett said. The patient lies on a table and an image is taken of her spine and hip.

"The Dexascan will be a complete screening for bone density and we can bill the patient's insurance," Houghton said. "Patients have had to use mobile resources up until now, and they have had to pay out of pocket."

The imaging center also provides routine radiology services for patients with limited mobility.

"Our table will lower all the way to the floor, so no one has to climb on a step stool to get onto it," Kivett said.

The facility also has a standing X-ray machine for people in wheelchairs.

Record-breaking births

The staff at PRMC's Family Birthing Center delivered a record-setting 198 babies in 2003.

The center is equipped to handle all types of pregnancies, birthing center director Deborah Vandal said, and that can make all the difference in the outcome of a complicated pregnancy and birth.

"These complications can vary from preterm birth, preterm labor, pregnancy induced hypertension or a baby with other complications," Vandal said.

The birthing center has several labor rooms, plus the materials, tools and skills to deal with a variety of difficulties, Vandal said. And the staff, which has a working relationship with the nearest natal intensive care unit at Maricopa County Hospital, has help at its fingertips.

"All we have to do is pick up the phone," Vandal said.

"Our physicians are experienced in the latest prenatal treatment, patient care and pediatric services to meet the special cases," Vandal said.

Rim country doctors working at the birthing center include staff obstetrician Dr. Cynthia Booth, Dr. David Cluff, Dr. Dexter DeWitt, Dr. Judith Hunt, Dr. Alan Michaels and Dr. Karen Evans.

The birthing center does, however, have limitations.

"We are a small, rural facility, which can handle most pregnancy emergencies," Vandal said. "But we cannot manage infants under 35 weeks of gestation that require intensive care, or a pregnant mother who requires a high level of care to improve the outcome. Native Air and Air Vac provide the safest, quickest transportation to NICU and prenatal centers in Phoenix."

Home health options

Home health care keeps millions of patients out of hospitals and nursing homes around the country. In the Rim country, the elderly and infirm can seek help from the PRMC Home Health Agency.

"Study after study shows patients heal better in their own environments," director Colleen O'Connor said. "Our goal is to keep patients out of hospitals and care centers."

With home health care, nurses, physical therapists and others are sent to the homes of patients with conditions that need monitoring and sessions to improve their health. It also has private duty care available, which provides someone to do shopping or just spend time with clients. The program also offers the services of certified nursing assistants who provide light housekeeping and patient care, such as bathing assistance.

The PRMC Home Health Agency has nine nurses on staff and they make an average of 150 visits to patients each week, O'Connor said.

"We have a fantastic, fabulous staff," O'Connor said. "I'd like the community to know that -- if they have not had the service. Our patients love their nurses. The nurses are very highly qualified. We can do anything in the home (nurses can do in hospitals)," she said.

And the nurses and other staff with the PRMC Home Health Agency offer something more, said Loretta Bowen, a patient who has used the service for many years.

"They're not only your nurse, they're also your friend," she said.

An overview of PRMC

PRMC's goal is to provide "quality care close to home," said Houghton.

To that end, the administration and staff of more than 300 full- and part-time employees have made great strides during 2003 to improve the facilities and services offered at the hospital.

In addition to opening the new imaging center on East Main Street, the hospital's rehabilitation and physical therapy services moved into new quarters. Located at 126 E. Main Street, the new rehab services site is across the street from the new imaging center and next to Payson Healthcare.

"We love it," director Andrew Wodka said. "It's absolutely wonderful. We have 4,000 square feet and an open gym for our clients. Everyone has their own space. We have a hydrotherapy room to do wound care."

Rehab services made the move in November 2003.

PRMC offers surgery and ambulatory services, using the latest in technology. It also offers expanded laboratory services, which means many tests can be performed in Payson.

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