Mobile MRI for military healthcare

5 Oct 2012 | Lance Cpl. Sarah Cherry

The Lowcountry Fed­eral Healthcare Alliance held a grand opening for their new mobile MRI at Naval Hospital Beaufort, Sept. 25.

The mobile MRI will support care on-site by giving faster test results for dependents, service members and veterans in the Lowcountry.

The Lowcountry Fed­eral Healthcare Alliance includes: Naval Hospital Beaufort, Naval Health Clinic Charleston, Ralph H. Johnson Veteran Af­fairs Medical Center, and U.S. Air Force 628th Medical Group at Joint Base Charleston.

“Thanks to our part­nership with Joint Incen­tive Fund, we are able to be sharing a new mobile MRI. With orthopedic injuries commonly oc­curring in the hospital’s young active duty popu­lation, particularly those in recruit training, and the VA’s more seasoned patients, having on-site access to MRI scans will enhance our ability to provide quality health­care,” said Navy Capt. Joan Queen, Command­ing Officer of Naval Hos­pital Beaufort.

The Lowcountry Fed­eral Healthcare Alliance joint project began Oc­tober 2006, as a partner­ship between Depart­ment of Defense and VA healthcare in South Car­olina and Georgia. The mission of the alliance is to “enhance delivery of quality, patient-centered healthcare through col­laborative federal and community partner­ships” with a vision of “leading the charge in seamless federal health care.”

“On our own, both the Naval Hospital and the VA attempted to pur­chase an MRI. These requests were denied,” Queen said. Various staff members from both facilities sent a request to the Joint Incentive Fund for a shared MRI, Queen said.

“They realized that together we had a bet­ter chance of getting funding approved,” said Queen, “and they were right,” she finished with conviction.

An MRI is a machine that uses a strong mag­netic field and radio waves to make a 3-D image of the inside of the body. MRI’s do not generate ionizing radia­tion like CT scans and X-rays.

The new MRI cost $2.3 million and will save the DOD and VA around $500,000 each year.

The funding came from the Joint Incen­tive Fund, a project established in 2003 to prompt innovative solu­tions and facilities that can be shared between the DOD and VA. The Joint Incentive Fund has proved quite success­ful in the past, and the mobile MRI stands to uphold that success now and in the future.