AITKIN - Riverwood Healthcare Center announced it plans to break ground in late August for a 5,600-square-foot hospital addition expanding the radiology imaging center, making room for a fixed station MRI or Magnetic Resonance Imaging machine.
Riverwood hosted an Aug. 5 groundbreaking ceremony in Aitkin. Dr. Kevin Smith, Regional Diagnostic Radiology radiologist and medical director of Imaging Services at Riverwood, said the addition will give patients more timely access to an MRI without leaving the area.
In a news release about the event, Michael Hagen, Riverwood CEO, said each year, more than 700 Riverwood patients require an MRI and that demand, with a growing and aging population is expected to increase.
This rendering shows how Riverwood Healthcare Center will look after an expansion plan is completed.
The addition was designed by HDR Architecture. Kraus-Anderson Construction is the contractor. Riverwood reports the expansion also will make room for the expansion of diagnostic and minimally invasive imaging services at Riverwood. The cost of the project is estimated at $4 million. The new Riverwood imaging center is expected to open in summer 2009.
In addition, Riverwood reported it is the third hospital in Minnesota to receive the certification of excellence in emergency care - the CALS Hospital designation - for the Comprehensive Advanced Life Support Program.
The award was presented by Dr. Harold Hofstrand, an emergency medicine specialist at St. Mary's Duluth Clinic and CALS instructor for more than a decade, Riverwood reported, noting the CALS Hospital designation merges with the Level III Trauma Center certification Riverwood already has.
Hofstrand said in a news release that "it took a comprehensive team approach with not only ER nurses and physicians getting CALS training but also medical-surgical nurses and family practice providers, and the hospital's administration seeing value in the training."
CALS is a national program designed to provide lifesaving emergency medical education for rural healthcare providers. Developed in Minnesota in 1996 as a result of collaboration among emergency medicine physicians, family physicians, rural practitioners, academic specialists, nurses, nurse practitioners, physician assistants and paramedics; CALS is now one of the premier education programs for rural healthcare providers, Riverwood reports.
"The biggest strength of CALS is the way it promotes teamwork with nurses and physicians training together," said Dr. James Harris, who heads Riverwood's Emergency Services. "We have a great healthcare team at Riverwood that includes our administrative, nursing, lab and radiology staff as well as all the care providers. It took a huge commitment from the entire team to get this award, and every day this team's commitment ensures quality care for our patients."
Riverwood met the criteria at the highest possible level of nurses and provider staff trained in CALS. In addition, the hospital's ER staff has obtained the recommended equipment and demonstrated their commitment to the CALS principles. Three of the hospital's ER physicians - Dr. James Harris, Dr. Steven Pitschka and Dr. David Taylor - are CALS instructors.
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