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PeaceHealth’s first project on San Juan Island: digital mammography

PeaceHealth and Mount Baker Imaging have reequipped the mammography room at Inter Island Medical Center with digital mammography equipment.

The result, according to Amy St. Cloud of St. Joseph Hospital:

“It’s a quicker exam and easier to work through. The images are digital, so they are more clear and detailed.”

On-island digital mammography will “save residents an off-island trip for this advanced and potentially life-saving procedure.”

It’s PeaceHealth’s first project on the island since the local hospital district commission contracted with the health organization to build and operate a community hospital here. The contract was approved in March.

“That’s one of the things that we’re excited about,” St. Cloud said. “We want to be there, to be helpful and be a good partner.”

A ribbon-cutting ceremony is scheduled for Friday, 4:30-5 p.m., at Inter Island Medical Center, 550 Spring St.

The event is open to the public.

Participants: Hospital District Commissioner Lenore Bayuk; Dr. Peter Buetow, president of Northwest Radiologists; Dr. Valerie Behrndt, medical director of Mount Baker Imaging Women’s Diagnostic Center; Nancy Steiger, CEO/chief mission officer for St. Joseph Hospital and PeaceHealth Medical Group; and Jim Barnhart, CEO/chief mission officer of PeaceHealth’s critical access hospital in Florence, Ore.

Barnhart is leading the implementation phase of the new critical access hospital and integrated medical center that PeaceHealth will build and operate on San Juan Island. That hospital is scheduled to open summer 2012.

Matt Rose, chief operating officer of Mount Baker Imaging, said the equipment cost $200,000, the room renovations $20,000. He expects the mammography site will serve 1,000 patients a year. He said he hopes that number will increase as women learn of the importance of having a mammogram once a year once they reach the age of 40.

Mount Baker Imaging is a joint venture of Northwest Radiologists and PeaceHealth’s St. Joseph Hospital. The venture renovated the original mammography site to accommodate the digital equipment.

Mount Baker Imaging works to provide comfortable, high-quality imaging services. The group of subspecialized radiologists has been serving Northwest Washington physicians and patients for more than 50 years.

PeaceHealth is a Bellevue-based non-profit healthcare system serving rural and urban communities in Washington, Oregon and Alaska. Sponsored by the Sisters of St. Joseph of Peace, PeaceHealth has provided medicine and compassionate care to Northwest communities for more than a century.

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