UPMC Chautauqua Eyes $3.5M Expansion To Radiology Dept.

UPMC Chautauqua has submitted its Certificate of Need application regarding a $3.5 million expansion project to the radiology department. P-J photo by Eric Tichy

A $3.5 million radiology department expansion project is being planned at UPMC Chautauqua.

Hospital officials submitted its Certificate of Need application earlier this month to the state Department of Health seeking approval for the project.

Tammara Hodges, UPMC Chautauqua director of imaging services, said they want to add a second nuclear medicine machine and relocate an X-ray room and two ultrasound rooms. She said the new nuclear medicine machine will be a GE NM830 with dual head cameras.

“The reason for doing so is, No. 1, a lower dose (radiation ions) for patients,” she said. “This is an opportunity to be more efficient and more accommodating for our patients. Reduce the time they have to be here for the scan.”

Cecil Miller, UPMC Chautauqua vice president of operations, said the proposed expansion of the radiology department is really the third phase of the project, which has also included new waiting and changing rooms and a new and second CT machine. He said the project will not include a building addition, but will involve space in the hospital being redesigned.

“We’re changing the flow of how patients get around to make it more efficient,” he said. “Before we had the CT department in one space, imaging in one space and nuclear medicine in one space. This brings them all into one area.”

Miller said once the hospital’s Certificate of Need is approved by the state the expansion project will start. Hodges said, once the project starts, it will take several months to be completed. She said the project will be done in stages so UPMC Chautauqua officials can maintain service lines and patient care.

Miller said, so far, for all three phases of the project it has cost around $12 million, with phase three being estimated at $3.5 million. He said no government funding is being used in the project.

“It’s one of the advantages of being a part of large (health care) system is access to capital,” he said about the former WCA Hospital integrating and now being a part of UPMC.

Additional new equipment that has been purchased by the hospital includes a new mammography machine. Hodges said new software and hardware upgrades have brought the hospital into a world of artificial intelligence. She said the mammography machine has smart curve paddles, which reduces discomfort to patients. She added 93% of women reported reduce apprehension going through the exam with the new curve paddle, which allows for uniform compression of the breast.

Hodges said the UroNav ultrasound machine is a more reliable cancer detector that urologist can use as an advanced way to perform a prostate biopsy.

“We have performed year-to-date 140 of these biopsy, so far,” she said. “It’s the most advance method available today.”

Hospital officials have also purchases a new Da Vinci Xi fourth generation robotic surgical system. Miller said it’s the most advances robotic surgical system in the industry.

“The patients recover quicker because there is a smaller incision,” he said. “We’ve done close to 3,000 robotic surgeries. For a hospital our size, that is incredible. The equipment we’re talking about you’re not able to find in most small hospitals. Things people used to have to leave the community for now can be done right here in Jamestown.”


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