Area health services may expand

Posted: Tuesday, August 31, 2004

The top hospital executive told the Central Peninsula General Hospital Inc. board of directors Thursday evening that chances are good that the Renal Care Group of Anchorage may open a facility within the hospital service area by next year.

"It looks very favorable that Renal Care Group will open here by the end of 2005," said David Gilbreath, chief executive officer.

The Renal Care Group provides hemodialysis treatment for patients with acute kidney problems or kidney failure.

"We have 19 patients within our service area doing peritoneal dialysis at home, who would prefer the doing the more traditional hemodialysis," Gilbreath said.

He also told the board that several former dialysis patients have moved away from the central Kenai Peninsula area because the treatment was not available.

"We're still collecting data on those patients who have moved away," Gilbreath said.

He said anyone in need of the care may contact him or Bonnie Nichols, CPGH public relations and marketing coordinator.

If the Renal Care Group opens a facility within the service area, it would be outside the hospital, and possibly outside Soldotna, according to Gilbreath.

The facility would be staffed and funded by Renal Care.

During the board meeting Thursday, the board approved two resolutions paving the way for the installation of a new magnetic resonance imaging machine.

Because of the size and weight of the $1.2 million MRI equipment, the board needed to approve one resolution allowing the removal of the roof cap of the building that houses the imaging equipment.

The new MRI will replace a smaller, lower resolution imaging machine that has been in use at CPGH for more than five years.

The board approved spending the budgeted $1.3 million for the purchase and installation of the 1.5 Tesla closed-bore MRI and spending $200,000 for removal of the building's roof so the machine can be lowered into place.

Gilbreath said advances in technology have made the new MRI superior to the hospital's 1.0 Tesla MRI that will be fully depreciated by fall.

The hospital will receive a trade-in allowance on the older machine.

The new MRI installation is to take place in late October or early November, depending on when it is delivered.

In other business, the board approved contracting with the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints on Marydale Avenue to use the church parking lot while the hospital employee parking area is vacated for the hospital expansion project.

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