RAF and MWHC to open new Imaging Center for Women

The new Imaging Center for Women (ICW) will open for patients on July 19 at 10 a.m., just after a ceremonial ribbon cutting.  The three-story angular glass and brick building on Mary Washington Healthcare's (MWHC) campus is located between the community hospital and Cowan Boulevard.  Staff will move from the current facility in the Tompkins Martin Building July 15 and 16 in preparation for the opening.

The ICW, a partnership between MWHC and Radiologic Associates of Fredericksburg (RAF), is relocating to the first floor of the new Center for Women at 1300 Hospital Drive.  The new ICW creates a patient environment unique to the area, officials involved in the creation say.

Upon entering, patients are greeted by a soothing environment: pressed wild flowers in an entry glass panel, subdued wall colors, artistic paneling and carpeting, wood trim, and multiple private reception areas designed to prevent long patient lines. There are no views of charts or office clutter, and the spacious changing areas feature full-length mirrors and closet space for a woman's belongings.  These open into extra-wide hallways where robe and towel-warming equipment are stationed.

"We are realizing a vision that we had nearly a decade ago," said Ed Swager, CEO of RAF.  "This building was planned at every level of detail to ensure that it feels both spacious and private to our female patients who come in for screening. It was designed from the ground up with a woman's comfort and her unique medical imaging needs in mind."  

Services will include screening and diagnostic digital mammography, stereotactic breast biopsy, breast ultrasound and biopsy, pelvic sonography, and bone densitometry.

"The new center also offers room for future growth, as technologies such as dedicated breast MRI and scintimammography (nuclear medicine breast imaging) are evaluated for inclusion in our service components," Swager added.

Swager said the new center will be staffed by 11 board-certified, fellowship-trained radiologists and 48 staff members, including a nurse, medical imaging technologists, and administrative support.  At any given time, four radiologists will be on duty at the center.

"We believe our patients and referring clinicians can benefit the most when we provide imaging physicians on site who are available for consultation, interpretation, and oversight of treatment," Swager said.  "Our 29 radiologists also work at Mary Washington Hospital, Stafford Hospital, Medical Imaging of Fredericksburg (MIF), Medical Imaging of North Stafford, and Medical Imaging at Lee's Hill.  RAF's medical capabilities cover a wide range of sub-specialties."  The imaging doctors are available to patients and referring medical providers 24 hours a day, seven days a week, he noted.

"We've simply outgrown our space," said Dr. Aye Min, RAF radiologist and physician director of the center. "Having two floors in our previous location (in the Tompkins Martin Office) required splitting resources.  In our new 11,000-square-foot office, all staff and services are together on one floor -- bringing more efficiency and better-coordinated care."  

Dr. Donald Allen, RAF radiologist and physician director of the ICW from its founding in 1996 to 2009, said demand for diagnostic and interventional imaging procedures has been growing as medical imaging has advanced and the population has grown. An average of 150 imaging patients a day is anticipated at the new center.

Dr. Allen said RAF's imaging doctors and MWHC wanted to create an ideal "center of excellence for women," one that would deliver the best possible care and comfort—comparable to any leading center in the country.

"Men will appreciate this facility too," said Barry Nielsen, a director of the area's imaging centers.   "They want to know that their family member or loved one is in a comfortable environment, and they want to feel confident that they are arranging for the best medical attention possible for the people they care about." The center has separate quarters for male patients. He also points out that the ICW will provide evening and Saturday hours of operation to make it convenient for commuters and daytime workers to see a doctor here.

Other services, beyond imaging, tailored to the needs of the area's female patients will also be located in this center.

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