After eight years of operating out of a mobile MRI unit, Northeastern Vermont Regional Hospital (NVRH) held an official open house and ribbon cutting for its new MRI Suite on Friday, December 6, 2019.

The new MRI addition is a significant upgrade for the hospital’s Diagnostic Imaging wing. The increased space and new layout improves workflow as well as efficiency for staff. The new space and equipment will also allow for future growth of MRI services.

The open house featured tours of the MRI addition’s space and attendees viewed the MRI room. Several individuals spoke to the significance of this new addition. NVRH CEO Shawn Tester welcomed attendees and introduced why the new MRI suite is important to NVRH and the rest of the community.

“By building this addition, we are going beyond just meeting our patients’ needs,” Tester said. “This new space allows us to engage in a more dynamic and patient-focused experience.”

Diagnostic Imaging Director Jackie Zaun thanked the Green Mountain Care Board; NVRH Plant Operations Director Richard DeGreenia and his team; radiologists Dr. Richard Bennum, Dr. Robert Smith, Dr. Hartley Neel, Dr. Candace Ortiz; Fleck & Lewis Architects; Siemens and HP Cummings Construction. She also explained that because of the above-mentioned individuals and companies, Diagnostic Imaging is able to offer patients a more comfortable experience.

“Patient health extends beyond just the basic function of completing a test, it means feeling as if their individual experience matters, that we are taking care of them as people,” Zaun said. “That’s why, on top of having this incredible machine, we have a comfortable waiting space, beautiful photos on the walls, a changing room and a bathroom located in the suite.”

Orthopaedic surgeon, Matthew Prohaska, MD spoke about the importance and use of the MRI for Four Seasons Orthopaedics, explaining that the new large bore state-of-the-art Siemens magnet will improve image quality, which will lead to improved diagnostics. Newly elected NVRH Board Chair Jane Arthur offered closing remarks by talking about the importance of collaboration.

“Progress requires collaboration,” Arthur said. “And thanks to NVRH’s administrative support, Diagnostic Imaging’s patient experience sensitivity, and the medical, physical, and diagnostic acumen of our providers, vendors, and everyone who was involved in making this a reality, we are in a position to not only offer improved experiences and diagnoses, we are positioning ourselves for future growth, advancement, and collaboration.”

The total cost for the new MRI addition was about $3.2 million, and was completed on time and under budget. It was approved by the Green Mountain Care Board on July 2, 2018.

Northeastern Vermont Regional Hospital is located in St. Johnsbury in the Northeast Kingdom of Vermont. The organization provides primary and preventive care, surgical and specialty services, inpatient and outpatient care and 24-hour, physician-staffed emergency services. NVRH serves more than 30,000 people in the Caledonia and Southern Essex Counties in Vermont and employs 600.