Schneck showcases renovated outpatient area, new MRI machine


People visiting Schneck Medical Center for outpatient care will notice upgrades in that area.

And soon, patients will be able to have magnetic resonance imaging scans in a new suite.

Jason Fee, director of facilities for the Seymour hospital, recently gave Schneck board of trustees members a tour of these areas, showcasing the latest upgrades.

The Outpatient Care Center opened March 1, while the MRI suite will open the first part of April, President and Chief Executive Officer Dr. Eric Fish said.

“Really, really beautiful area and a lot of great work on that,” Fish said of the Outpatient Care Center, while he said the MRI suite will be a very state-of-the-art facility. “Just a lot of great work done by (Fee’s) team and everybody involved in that.”

Inside the main entrance, visitors will see the Outpatient Care Center with four registration stations. To the left is a new waiting area, which has a nearby door to enter when called for a blood draw, a urine sample or an outpatient procedure.

There are now four private blood draw rooms, one of which serves a dual purpose and also can be used for urine drug screens. That’s an upgrade from areas that were separated by curtains.

“Most of this was existing walls,” Fee said. “We just refinished it and then expanded back here so we could create that access to the waiting room.”

Also, with all of the doctor’s offices in the new Schneck Professional Building, they can send patients to the Outpatient Care Center for blood work, Fee said.

The renovated area also includes several prep recovery rooms, an area with chairs for people to sit in after having a cataract procedure, three procedural rooms, a new laboratory, a nurses station and a private doctor’s office.

“There’s a corridor into the endoscopy area so the new nurses stations have an easy connection and also for efficiency because they share a medication fridge, a linen cart and warm blankets instead of duplicating everything,” Fee said.

There used to be two procedural rooms in the outpatient area, but one was moved from upstairs to make three total. Right now, one of them is being specifically used for cataract procedures.

“It can be used for other things, but that’s what we’re using it for now,” Fish said.

Added to the Outpatient Care Center are an equipment storage area and a staff lounge with men’s and women’s locker rooms and a shower in the existing restroom. Nutrition services employees also can use the lounge since they work nearby, Fee said.

The new MRI suite is on the first floor in the diagnostic imaging department.

The installation of the new GE MRI scanner system combines the latest advancements in MRI with patient comfort features and is the most sophisticated 1.5T MRI in the area, according to a news release from Schneck.

The MRI features a larger and more open tunnel that patients lie in to receive their MRI scan. The larger opening and longer patient table can better accommodate larger and heavier patients (up to 500 pounds) while providing a less-confining space for the patient during the exam.

“Our new MRI makes it easier for patients of all sizes and types to have testing performed, including those with claustrophobia, by making them more comfortable during the scan,” Rita Hollen, director of diagnostic imaging at Schneck, said in the news release.

It also includes Caring Suite technology, which creates a unique environment that is customizable to the patient and uses images, sounds and lights to create a more relaxing and soothing atmosphere.

Based on the patient’s preference, the lighting in the room can be adjusted to different colors, and the screen on the ceiling can project video. The door to the MRI room also can be frosted to provide patient privacy.

“We are excited to bring this state-of-the-art technology to our community, who will benefit significantly from its enhanced imaging capabilities and patient-friendly features,” Hollen said. “The Caring Suite technology, which is the first of its kind in the area and one of only a few in the world, offers a more comfortable, less clinical environment for patients needing an MRI.”

Also, the enhanced computer processing software used by the new scanner is GE’s latest, producing exceptional image quality that better details a patient’s anatomy for doctors to evaluate.

“This is the future of MRI technology right here in our area,” Dr. LeAnn Stidham, a radiologist at Schneck, said in the news release. “The Caring Suite technology fosters a calming environment in the clinical procedure room, which is truly revolutionary and will benefit the patients in our communities tremendously.”

Dr. Ryan Stone, chief medical officer of Schneck, said he has talked to Hollen about working with GE to get pediatric and infant protocols to be able to do more pediatric exams at the hospital instead of sending them elsewhere.

“It’s going to be a huge asset to have for the community,” Stone said.

Fee said the people installing the MRI machine have noted it’s one of the nicest installations they’ve ever done.

“Their hope when they finish this is to use it as a model for other MRI suites,” he said. “It’s shaping up really nicely.”

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