REGIONAL—Patients at three N’West Iowa critical access hospitals are going to benefit from the latest in X-ray technology.

Hawarden Regional Healthcare, MercyOne Primghar Medical Center and Osceola Community Hospital in Sibley each have received grant funds from The Leona M. and Harry B. Helmsley Charitable Trust’s Rural Healthcare Program to use toward purchasing new X-ray equipment.

Osceola Community

Osceola Community used a $300,000 grant toward buying a Shimadzu MX8 digital mobile X-ray system and a fixed Shimadzu RADspeed Pro digital X-ray machine.

“The support from the Helmsley Charitable Trust will enhance our abilities to provide quality care to the people of our community,” said Ben Davis, the CEO of the Sibley hospital. “With this technology, our team will be empowered to provide more services that will save lives and improve the health of our patients.”

Denise Cummins, the radiology supervisor for Osceola Community, agreed with Davis on the Helmsley Charitable Trust.

“We’re very thankful to them for everything,” Cummins said. “Truly, we would be struggling if it wasn’t for them.”

The Sibley hospital has been using its new mobile radiology system since May 15. It replaced a portable GE AMX 4 X-ray machine, which had been installed at the facility in 2014 but was manufactured 19 years ago.

“This technology is wonderful,” Cummins said. “It works better than our other machine, of course. It has come in handy in the ER already.”

Osceola Community’s new fixed X-ray equipment will take the place of a Philips Diagnost radiology unit, which had been installed at the facility in 2003 when it was new.

The Sibley hospital’s new mobile X-ray system has been used more than 70 times while the facility’s X-ray exam room has been stripped of the older fixed radiology equipment and remodeled.

The renovation of Osceola Community’s X-ray exam room began on May 23. The new fixed X-ray technology is scheduled to be installed and fully functional by Wednesday, June 12.

“After that room’s up, we won’t use it nearly as much, but as handy as that is, I think we’ll probably use it more than we used to use the old one,” Cummins said of the new mobile X-ray system.

MercyOne Primghar

A $272,213 grant allowed MercyOne Primghar to purchase a DRX-Revolution Mobile X-ray System and a DRX Ascend Fixed Radiology Equipment from Carestream Health.

“We are excited to receive a grant from the Helmsley Charitable Trust for radiology equipment,” said Misty Dulin, the director of MercyOne Primghar, which changed its name earlier this year from Baum Harmon Mercy Hospital.

“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 Primghar hospital received its new mobile X-ray system on May 28 and is scheduled to receive its new fixed radiology equipment by July 22.

MercyOne Primghar’s new mobile X-ray system, which is digital, has replaced a portable GE Medical Systems unit that was manufactured in 1997.

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

“It’s an analog system, not a digital system,” said Amy Reese, the MercyOne Primghar radiology manager. “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.”

She said MercyOne Primghar’s new fixed X-ray technology is a vast improvement over 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 Primghar hospital’s new mobile X-ray system will come in handy while the facility’s X-ray exam room is stripped of the older fixed radiology equipment and remodeled in July.

MercyOne Primghar’s new fixed technology is scheduled to be installed and fully functional by late July.

Hawarden Regional

Hawarden Regional used a grant of $138,000 to buy a Shimadzu MX8 digital mobile X-ray system. The new unit arrived on May 7.

“Hawarden Regional Healthcare is excited to be awarded a grant from the Helmsley Charitable Trust,” said Jayson Pullman, the CEO of the Hawarden hospital.

“The grant will be replacing existing and outdated mobile X-ray equipment,” Pullman said. “The new equipment will be digital and deliver a lower dose of radiation, making it safer for patients that need mobile X-ray procedures.”

The new equipment replaces a mobile GE AMX 4 X-ray system that was manufactured in 1989, but it had been refurbished to be a digital unit.

Kayla Dykstra, the radiology manager for Hawarden Regional, said the new mobile X-ray system has been used at least a dozen times already.

“It’s a huge time saver,” Dykstra said. “It’s truly a mobile department on wheels.”


In its ongoing efforts to improve the quality of rural health care, The Leona M. and Harry B. Helmsley Charitable Trust has awarded grants totaling more than $14.2 million to 50 rural hospitals in the Upper Midwest to purchase advanced X-ray technology.

“Our goal has always been to improve access to exceptional medical treatment for those who live in rural America,” said Walter Panzirer, a trustee for the Helmsley Charitable Trust.

“To that end, rural hospitals need to remain viable and have the latest equipment to ensure their patients can receive essential, quality health-care services locally,” he said. “This initiative is just one of many that strives to improve health-care outcomes throughout the Upper Midwest.”

Critical access hospitals in Iowa, Minnesota, Montana, Nebraska, North Dakota, South Dakota and Wyoming are hampered by outdated equipment.

Panzirer said the Helmsley Charitable Trust’s latest initiative addresses outdated X-ray technology that underserves patients and jeopardizes the health of physicians and X-ray technicians.

The $14.2 million in grants will allow for the replacement of a total of 87 pieces of equipment, including:

  • Thirty-two fixed X-ray devices with an average age of 16 years.
  • Forty-seven portable X-ray devices with an average age of 28 years.
  • Three fixed fluoroscopy devices with an average age of 9 years.
  • Five portable C-arms with an average age of 16 years.

“Technology has advanced so much, even over the last decade, that these grants — allowing for the purchase of advanced X-ray devices — will provide incredible benefits for medical workers and their patients for the foreseeable future,” Panzirer said.

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