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NMRTC Beaufort > Command Info > Public Affairs > NHB Receives Joint Incentive Funds for MRI

Dec. 5, 2011

Naval Hospital Beaufort Receives Joint Incentive Funds to Purchase Mobile MRI

Naval Hospital Beaufort announces today that the hospital and the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) Primary Care Clinic, which is located within the hospital, will receive $ 2,274,000 to purchase a mobile MRI through the federal government’s Joint Incentive Fund (JIF). The unit will be located at the naval hospital and be co-operated and co-managed by hospital and VA staff for the benefit of active duty service members, retirees, their family members, and veterans. The VA’s Beaufort Primary Care Clinic (BPCC) is a Community Based Outpatient Clinic (CBOC) that is part of the Ralph H. Johnson VA Medical Center in Charleston, S.C.

“I am thrilled that the funding was approved,” said Capt. Joan Queen, commanding officer of Naval Hospital Beaufort. “There will be so many advantages to having a mobile MRI at our hospital. This will improve access for our beneficiaries to this valuable diagnostic tool, offer more convenience to all patients, and save money.”

Currently, 100 percent of Naval Hospital Beaufort’s MRI workload, over 1,500 studies per year, is sent to the local Beaufort TRICARE network. The hospital anticipates that it can recover $500,000 per year in costs once the mobile MRI is operational. Additionally, with Marine Corps Air Station Beaufort expecting to increase the number of active duty personnel assigned to the installation over the next four years, the current workload is expected to rise. Presently, the MRI services at the VA medical center in Charleston are being utilized to capacity, resulting in their patients often being sent to use network fee-based, MRI care.

“We are happy to be working with the VA on this venture,” said Cmdr. Mark Travis, radiologist and director of clinical support services at Naval Hospital Beaufort. “Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) will fully round out the capabilities of our radiology department which serves active duty, retirees, and the regional VA population.”

According to Travis, this new imaging modality will prevent countless hours of travel for military members, their dependents, and VA patients for these advanced studies. Once the mobile MRI is operational at the hospital, patients will have their MRI done at the same location where they receive their primary care, enabling providers to have quicker access to the results. Additionally, VA patients will no longer need to drive over 53 miles from Beaufort and 84 miles from Savannah, Ga., to reach the VA medical center in Charleston. VA patients from CBOCs located in both geographical areas will be able to access MRI services at Naval Hospital Beaufort.

“This will allow real-time collaboration with the primary care physician concerning the planning and imaging results,” add Travis. “I can think of no better project to enhance both our VA partnership and our institutional medical capabilities.”

Open since 1949, Naval Hospital Beaufort provides general medical, surgical, and emergency services to all active duty personnel, as well as retired military and family members residing in the Beaufort area, a total population of approximately 45,000 beneficiaries. The BPCC has been housed within the Navy Hospital since activation in September, 2001 and currently takes care of 3,626 Veterans.