MercyOne Primghar to gain X-ray equipment

MercyOne Primghar Medical Center radiology manager Amy Reese works with the hospital’s fixed X-ray equipment. The Leona M. and Harry B. Helmsley Charitable Trust’s Rural Healthcare Program has awarded Primghar’s critical access hospital a $272,213 grant for new X-ray technology.

PRIMGHAR—Amy Reese is excited that MercyOne Primghar Medical Center soon will have the latest in X-ray technology.

The Leona M. and Harry B. Helmsley Charitable Trust’s Rural Healthcare Program has awarded Primghar’s critical access hospital a $272,213 grant for a DRX-Revolution Mobile X-ray System and DRX Ascend Fixed Radiology Equipment from Carestream Health.

“It’s a huge gift for a small hospital,” said Reese, the MercyOne Primghar radiology manager. “The grant fully funds both pieces of equipment.”

The fixed Toshiba Fluorex X-ray technology that will be replaced at the hospital was refurbished equipment installed 19 years ago but manufactured in 1988.

“It is old,” Reese said. “It does function OK, the problem being there are no parts for it for repairs. They don’t manufacture any more parts. It’s an analog system, not a digital system. We’ll be going to an all-digital system.”

She explained the difference between an analog system and a digital system.

“It’s the capturing of the image,” Reese said. “The image capture, with digital, is just like your cellphone and your computer. There’s no more film. It’s all a digital process. It’s all computer-driven, it’s all computer-processed.”

She explained how MercyOne Primghar’s new fixed X-ray technology will be better than the equipment it will replace.

“The new equipment will use less radiation,” Reese said. “It will be much more efficient, much quicker. The images will be clearer, sharper, just like with a cellphone.”

The hospital’s new fixed X-ray technology will include a new examination table that will be able to handle a weight amount of up to 600 pounds instead of a maximum of 350 pounds.

“The new table will also go down within 1 foot of the floor, which will be very nice for transferring patients,” Reese said, noting that the current X-ray exam table cannot move up or down.

“Patients won’t have to climb up onto the table,” she said. “That’ll be a huge benefit for safety — for patients and for the technologist as well.”

MercyOne Primghar’s new mobile X-ray system is scheduled to be delivered on May 28. That unit will be digital like the new fixed technology and be able to be wheeled throughout the hospital.

“The mobile piece we have now is also analog,” Reese said, noting that the portable GE Medical Systems equipment was manufactured in 1997. “It is not digital. Once we get rid of analog, we don’t have any more analog. Everything has to be digital.”

MercyOne Primghar’s mobile X-ray system will come in handy while the hospital’s X-ray exam room is stripped of the older fixed equipment and remodeled in June before the installation of the new technology.

“We’re going to do a little refurbishment of this room — floors, ceiling, lights, walls — and freshen it all up, and the new equipment will be installed,” Reese said. “It’ll take a whole week to install it and then another week for inspecting and training for the unit.”

The MercyOne Primghar Foundation will fund the approximately $60,000 renovation of the hospital’s X-ray exam room. The new technology is expected to be installed and fully functional by July 1.

Grant funds from the Helmsley Charitable Trust have been quite the X-factor for MercyOne Primghar improving much of its technology during the past four years.

In 2017, when the medical center was known as Baum Harmon Mercy Hospital, it received a $400,000 grant from the Helmsley Charitable Trust to use toward a new CT scanner. CT stands for computed tomography.

About four years ago, the Helmsley Charitable Trust awarded the medical center a grant of $244,125 for eEmergency, a program that gives physicians, especially those in rural areas, immediate access to specialty care 24 hours a day.

Suffice it to say, the Primghar hospital has benefited quite a bit from the Helmsley Charitable Trust, which has given out grant funds this year in the amount of $14.2 million as part of an initiative to upgrade X-ray technology at 50 rural hospitals across the Upper Midwest.

“We are excited to receive a grant from the Helmsley Charitable Trust for radiology equipment,” said Misty Dulin, the director of MercyOne Primghar.

“This equipment upgrade will allow long-term maintenance of high-quality digital radiology services for patients seen in the radiology department and the same quality of digital imaging at the bedside of patients in the emergency room, surgery and on the medical unit,” she said.


The Leona M. and Harry B. Helmsley Charitable Trust aspires to improve lives by supporting effective nonprofits in health and select place-based initiatives.

Since 2008, when the Helmsley Charitable Trust began its active grant making, it has committed more than $1.8 billion for a wide range of charitable purposes.

The Helmsley Charitable Trust’s Rural Healthcare Program funds innovative projects that use information technologies to connect rural patients to emergency medical care, bring the latest medical therapies to patients in remote areas and provide state-of-the-art training for rural hospitals and emergency medical services personnel.

To date, this program has awarded nearly $380 million to organizations and initiatives in the Upper Midwest states of Iowa, Minnesota, Montana, Nebraska, North Dakota, South Dakota and Wyoming.

For more information on the Helmsley Charitable Trust, visit the website

This story was originally published in the May 18, 2019, issue of The South O'Brien Sun.