Lawrence Memorial Hospital trustees today approved recruiting a cytologist to the area.
Robert Trepinski, LMH associate executive director, said the cytologist at Lawrence Clinical Lab, a professional group of pathologists, will retire by July 1. LCL has agreed to turn over cytological services to the hospital if LMH can recruit a new cytologist.
Cytology is the study of the structure and function of cells. Cytologists process and read Pap smears. In a memo to the board of trustees, Trepinski called cytology a "basic necessity" of women's services.
Trepinski said it is difficult to recruit cytologists, who are in demand across the nation.
"They're not an easy commodity to come by," he said.
But attracting a new cytologist to Lawrence would give the hospital "a shot at maintaining business in the community."
IF LMH does not attract a cytologist, testing would be done by out-of-town reference labs and the turnaround time "would be worse," Trepinski.
The advantage of LMH taking on cytological services would be continuity in who reads the tests, Trepinski said.
The board of trustees, which met this morning, approved authorizing a nationwide recruit for a cytologist. LMH officials did not offer an estimate on the cost of conducting the search.
Trustee Kay Kent, director of the Lawrence-Douglas County Health Department, abstained from voting because the health department currently uses LCL for cytological services.
TRUSTEES also discussed concerns raised by officials from Bert Nash Community Mental Health Center and the Douglas County Visiting Nurses Assn., which both occupy offices in the south wing of the hospital. Dan Watkins, chairman of the board of directors for Bert Nash, urged trustees to consider accessibility and safety of south wing, which was built in 1956, during their long-range planning process.
Watkins and Marceil Lauppe, VNA director, would like to see more parking and better lighting for the 1956 wing.
Robert Ohlen, LMH executive director, said the board was not in a position to make a commitment about parking because the strategic planning process is not finished.
However, he said, 60 to 70 parking spaces will be added sometime this year to a hospital parking lot and should help cushion the problem. Ohlen estimated that construction would start in May or June.
OHLEN SAID the board should be in a better position to discuss future parking and lighting improvements later this year.
In other business, trustees approved the medical executive committee's recommendation that Dr. Garry Owen serve as chief of obstetrics and gynecology.