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Archive for Wednesday, April 3, 2002

New technology, renovations help LMH serve community better

April 3, 2002

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One of Lawrence Memorial Hospital's goals is to offer a wide enough array of health care services so people don't have to leave town to find treatment.

LMH is better poised than ever to achieve that goal, according to Gene Meyer, the hospital's chief executive officer and president.

In 2001, LMH expanded the variety of treatments that it provides; acquired new medical technology or upgraded existing equipment; and undertook extensive renovations to a laboratory and hospital units.

One of the hospital's strengths in the health care marketplace, Meyer said, is its radiology department, which has two magnetic resonance imaging units that help it serve the diagnostic needs of LMH's referring physicians.

"These units complement each other. One is a closed magnet that allows for highly sophisticated studies, and the other is an open unit that offers a high degree of sophistication without the potential for claustrophobic reactions (in patients)," he said.

"Last year we performed more than 5,400 MRI scans, and our capacity is still not completely utilized."

In 2002, LMH's continued investment in technology will make up a major portion of the hospital's capital budget.

LMH is replacing the two CT (computing axial tomography) scanners that it owns and installing upgraded machines that will have multislice imaging capabilities  a big step forward for Lawrence health care.

"It's extraordinary that we're able to do this. Combined, the investment is $2.1 million. The new CT scanners will be faster and more comprehensive," Meyer said.

One of the scanners will be at LMH; the other at LMH South, 3510 Clinton Parkway Place. Additional mammography and ultrasound services also will be offered at LMH South.

Another important recent development was the replacement, in late 2001, of the hospital's cardiac catheterization unit. LMH's investment in this new laboratory was more than $1.3 million.

In 2002, thanks to a gift from the James Kemper Foundation through Commerce Bank, LMH will be able to expand its cardiac rehabilitation unit to meet the growing demands of Lawrence cardiac patients.

The cost will be about $150,000. Work on the cardiac rehab unit should be completed this summer.

In 2001, the hospital completed a $100,000 revamp of its mental health unit. And this year, LMH has budgeted for an $800,000 investment in a new laboratory information system. It should be done by the end of 2002, according to Bonnie Peterson, LMH senior vice president and chief operating officer.

Meyer pinpointed the hospital's oncology department as one of LMH's continuing strengths.

"We have the ability to deliver needed chemotherapy services to our population with more than 12 trained chemo-therapy nurses. We're prepared for the volume of patients we've experienced," he said.

Dr. Jay Andersen, who is completing his fellowship in oncology at Kansas University Medical Center, is going to join Dr. Matt Stein and Dr. Ronald Stephens in the Oncology Center at LMH.

Last year, the oncology unit had more than 2,500 patient visits. As recently as two years ago, according to Meyer, most of those visits would have gone outside of Lawrence.

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