OLBH imaging consolidated, urgent care growing

Published 12:00 am Friday, December 12, 2003

In the middle of flu season, Our Lady of Bellefonte Hospital's new Urgent Care Center has been a busy place, but the neighboring Diagnostic Imaging Center has relocated some of its services.

The multi-use facility is located in the Ironton Hills Shopping Center at the intersection of U.S. 52 and State Route 93.

The imaging facility opened in March 2000. The urgent care facility opened Nov. 3.

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"The combined services are doing well. We are seeing an increased patient volume exceeding our estimates," said Michael Stautberg, vice president of external affairs for OLBH. "We are getting new patients every week and are happy to provide these services."

However, three of the imaging services - ultra sound, EKG, and CT scans - will now only be provided at Our Lady of Bellefonte Hospital's main campus in Russell, Ky.

"What has happened is we have consolidated some of the services back onto the main campus because some of these services were being under utilized," Stautberg said.

Mammography services have also been consolidated but the mobile unit will still visit the Urgent Care facility or other nearby location at least once a week.

Other aspects of the imaging center including MRI, X-ray and lab testing are still available in Ironton and additional laboratory or imaging services may be added later, Stautberg said.

"We just need to evaluate what the community needs and what the urgent care facility needs in support," he said.

Dr. Karl Valentine, a physician director for America's Urgent Care which operates the facility for OLBH, said that the urgent care center certainly filled a need within the community.

"When we put up a brand new urgent care they are tough to get going for the first six months," he said. "The average for a new facility is about five patients per day. We are seeing 12 to 15 per day in flu season.

"It is incredible. It has exceeded all expectations three to four-fold. We didn't know what to expect but it is doing so well because of the community support."

Valentine said he does not think the consolidation of the imaging equipment will be a problem.

"Most of our patients require basic X-ray facilities, which we can still provide. That fulfills about 80 percent of our imaging needs," he said.

"With the x-ray here, we can do anything they need."