PERIDOT — The San Carlos Apache Healthcare Corporation (SCAHC) recently held a ribbon-cutting ceremony for the grand opening of the new MRI Unit. In attendance were hospital administration, members of the SCAHC Board of Directors, San Carlos Apache Tribe’s Department of Health and Human Services administration, San Carlos Apache Healthcare Corporation employees and members of the community.
An opening prayer was provided by traditional Medicine Man, Mr. Leroy Kenton and the welcoming address was provided by outgoing SCAHC Board Chairman, Mr. Steve Titla, Esq.
“The installation of our very own MRI is a testament that we can better serve our patients,” said Titla, Esq., referencing the tribe’s journey from an IHS-run facility to SCAT-run facility. “The decision has allowed our tribe to take ownership and manage the delivery of healthcare to our Apache people and our community by always remembering the patient.”
SCAHC CEO Victoria Began and CEO Mentee Isaiah Belknap spoke about the journey of the MRI. Once the tribe took ownership of the hospital, the goal was to eliminate the need for outside referrals and quickly securing CT scan services, ultrasound and mammography services. Through patients, it was heard that MRI services were needed in addition to the other imaging services.
Belknap discussed that before the purchase of the new unit, Izeeʹ Baa Gowąh utilized a mobile unit. At the beginning of the contract, the unit was available once a week, then moved to twice a week and last was offered three-times a week. This caused a backup log of patient’s needing MRI tests to be performed.
Began emphasized that executive leadership was aware of the challenges that patients faced despite the service being offered three-days a week and that planning started to identify a solution.
“It became obvious the increasing need to secure a more permanent MRI machine – as the convenience of having the service here on the reservation was well received,” said Began. “However, the limited number of days that we could provide MRI services and the cramped space inside the mobile unit itself left the true need and desire for the permanent MRI services here at SCAHC.”
The purchase of the GE Architect 3.0 Tesla MRI scanner has allowed SCAHC Imaging team to be current with patients needing MRI tests. The unit is one of the most advanced MRI scanners in the country. It compares to equipment that is used in the nation’s leading healthcare facilities. Now, the imaging team has the capability to perform most any MRI test that is requested right from the comfort of Izeeʹ Baa Gowąh.
Concluding the ribbon cutting ceremony, a closing prayer was offered by traditional Medicine Man, Mr. Manuel Cooley.