East Kootenay Regional Hospital in Cranbrook. Google maps photo

New MRI unit increases access

Interior Health aims for 5100 exams in Cranbrook this year

One year after the announcement of a new MRI unit in Cranbrook, Interior Health says access for patients has tripled.

The Free Press previously reported that patients in the Elk Valley in need of an MRI scan were waiting an average of 43 weeks.

Interior Health explained that this new $5.3 million scanner, which became operational in the summer of 2018, is the health authority’s biggest yet.

The new permanent installation replaced a mobile MRI unit that travelled to the East Kootenay Regional Hospital in Cranbrook for a week, every month.

It came after a push to reduce medical wait times, with the B.C. Government committing an extra $11 million in March 2018 to increase the number of MRI exams carried out across the province.

At the time, Interior Health anticipated that the new unit in Cranbrook would double the number of possible tests to approximately 3000 per year. Prior to the new unit, they were accommodating 1300 patients per year. This rose to 4000 visits after the MRI became operational.

Interior Health explained that their aim for the next full year is 5100 exams.

“MRIs are scheduled by priority,” explained Scott Edmonstone, EK Health Services Director, Medical Imaging.

“The highest priority is immediate, the second is an appointment within two work weeks and the third is an appointment within a month. We are meeting our targets in all categories.”

Interior Health contributed $2.21 million to the MRI project, while the Kootenay East Regional Hospital District chipped in $2.14 million.

The East Kootenay Foundation for Health donated $650,000, which included $100,000 from the Kimberley Health Care Auxiliary, $50,000 from the Invermere Health Care Auxiliary, $25,000 from the Elk Valley Foundation and $100,000 from the Fostering the Future Foundation.

The remaining $650,000 came from the Cranbrook Health Care Auxiliary.

Next, Interior Health plans to expand ultrasound services into the Elk Valley, so that residents no longer have to travel to Cranbrook for detailed scans.

This comes after a provincial moratorium was placed on ultrasound expansions in 2017 due to a shortage of sonographers, but applications for exceptions can be made.

Just Posted

Local candidates reflect on campaign; voter turnout hits 72%

Voter turnout in Kootenay-Columbia was strong in the 2019 Canadian general election.… Continue reading

Morrison latest in a long line of MPS (including Parker and Graham)

Congratulations to Rob Morrison on his election victory Monday, Oct. 21, in… Continue reading

Morrison wins Kootenay-Columbia for Conservative Party

Unofficial results peg 28,495 votes for Morrison with 98 per cent of polls reporting Monday evening

UPDATE: Morrison wins Kootenay-Columbia by more than 7,000 votes

Elections Canada is reporting a 72% voter turnout

Trudeau has won the most seats — but not a majority. What happens next?

Trudeau will have to deal with some of the implications of Monday’s result

Scheer says Canada more divided than ever, as NDP and Bloc hold cards close

While Liberals were shut out of two key prairie provinces, they took two-thirds of the seats in Ontario

Two youth arrested in UBC carjacking at gunpoint, after being spotted in stolen Kia

‘A great deal of credit is due the alert person who called us,’ said North Vancouver Sgt. Peter DeVries

People’s Party of Canada’s anti-immigration views ‘didn’t resonate’ with voters: prof

Party was formed on anti-immigration, climate denying views in 2018

Windstorm knocks out power for 10,000 in north and central B.C.

Power slowly being restored, BC Hydro says

At the Cranbrook Public Library

Mike Selby At the time of his death, Stieg Larsson (‘The Girl… Continue reading

Investor alert: ‘Split games’ pyramid scheme circulating in B.C.

British Columbia Securities Commission issues warning about scheme selling virtual shares

Federal NDP may support B.C. with major projects, Carole James says

SkyTrain Surrey extension, Massey Tunnel need Ottawa’s help

‘Issue-by-issue parliament’: Expert says Liberals need to placate NDP to be effective

Scandals, social issues, racism defined 2019 federal election, SFU prof says

Misconduct investigations spike by 65% across B.C.’s municipal police forces: report

Reports overall up 15 per cent while complaints made by public down seven per cent

Most Read