Access Health, Avera included in $26

Local News

Mar 23, 2023

Deb Gau

Staff Writer

MARSHALL — Six hospitals and clinics in southwest Minnesota will be getting new ultrasound equipment with the help of a roughly $682,000 grant.

Area spokespeople for Avera and Access Health said the machines will help provide important diagnostic services to patients.

A total of seven new ultrasound machines will be purchased for three Avera hospitals and three Access Health clinics, including Avera Marshall Regional Medical Center and Access Health in Marshall.

The grant was part of a $26.4 million ultrasound initiative announced Tuesday by the Leona M. and Harry B. Helmsley Charitable Trust. The initiative included $18.3 million for hospitals and health centers in Minnesota to buy ultrasound imaging devices, and an additional $8.1 million for sonography and ultrasound training opportunities in the state.

“Our hospitals and health centers need to stay current with rapidly advancing technology so they can continue to provide top-notch healthcare close to home,” said Walter Panzirer, a trustee for the Helmsley Charitable Trust. “These grants help ensure that facilities across Minnesota have the latest and greatest ultrasound equipment and training.”

“We are grateful to the Helmsley Charitable Trust for their generous grant that will help us stay in step with the newest technology, ensuring that patients across southwest Minnesota will have access to the important imaging capability of ultrasound,” said Debbie Streier, regional president at Avera Marshall.

In addition to Avera Marshall and Access Health-Marshall, the grant will purchase ultrasound machines at Avera Tyler and Avera Granite Falls, and Access Health clinics in Windom and Worthington, spokespeople said. The Granite Falls hospital would get two ultrasound machines, one for general medicine and one for the emergency department.

Ultrasound uses high-frequency sound waves to make images of structures inside the body. A news release from Avera Health said the new ultrasound equipment purchased by the grant will help provide better-quality imaging, and faster and more accurate diagnoses for patients.

“Maintaining high quality ultrasound services in rural settings can be challenging,” said April Crago, chief medical officer of Rural Health Care, Inc. “The generosity of the Helmsley Charitable Trust will allow Access Health’s clinics in southwest Minnesota to provide these services close to home and to many who may otherwise not be able to afford the testing without the sliding fee program offered through our FQHC (Federally Qualified Health Center) locations.”

The news release said the Helmsley Trust ultrasound initiative would purchase 196 ultrasound devices across Minnesota. More than half of the devices are “point of care ultrasound,” which can be used at a bedside or table for immediate assessment of a patient.

The grant initiative also included $8.1 million to train new sonographers, and provide training to health care workers including ultrasound technologists, doctors, physician assistants, and nurse practitioners.

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Access Health, Avera included in $26

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