Heart Practice Seeks Scann

September 7, 2007
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GRAND RAPIDS — West Michigan Heart, the Grand Rapids area's largest cardiology practice, is seeking state permission to add a state-of-the-art CT scanner.

Two other local physicians' practices, West Michigan Cardiology and Michigan Medical PC, have 64-slice computed tomography scanners. The equipment, which can run as high as $2 million, also is found in hospitals.

"From a clinical perspective, it's got huge potential," said Suzette Jaskie, CEO at West Michigan Heart.

"It's my job to make it work economically because they (doctors) are convinced on the clinical piece."

Michigan's Certificate of Need program requires that 64-slice scanners gain approval from the Department of Community Health. According to documents from the Alliance for Health, a nonprofit health planning agency that is the first stop in the public CON process,   West Michigan Heart has created a subsidiary called West Michigan CVCT to purchase and operate the scanner.

The total project cost is $1.7 million, which includes $1.49 million for a Philips 64-slice CT system and $217,315 in construction costs for 973 square feet on the first floor of West Michigan Heart's office at

2900 Bradford St. NE.

CON standards use a formula to determine how much use a scanner will get, and requires the equivalent of at least 7,500 scans by the second year of use. With commitments from 28 doctors, most from West Michigan Heart, West Michigan CVCT expects to reach 7,539.

In addition, Jaskie left open the possibility that the scanner could be used outside the cardiology field in the future. "We'd have to see how much utilization is required to serve our patients first, before we would expand it," she said.

According to the Alliance for Health evaluation, West Michigan CVCT expects net patient revenue of $1.5 million from the scanner in the first year and anticipates the equipment, which requires a staff of about seven, would turn a profit during its second year of operation.

The average charge for the scan is expected to be $645, according to the evaluation. Actual charges depend on the exact procedure that is done. Results from cardiac scans would be interpreted by board-certified West Michigan Heart cardiologists, with Premier Radiology of Kalamazoo reading non-cardiac scans, the document stated.

Jaskie said the scanner would be operational about 60 days after CON approval. She said she expects the Department of Community Health to act this fall.

Linda Roush, office manager for West Michigan Cardiology, said the practice acquired a 64-slice scanner about two years ago, and it is used for referrals from many doctors for many types of scans. Roush added that a radiologist reads the scans.

Dr. H. Paul Singh, one of West Michigan Cardiology's three doctors, suggested acquiring one after attending a conference, Roush said. "It's a huge commitment," she added. "Dr. Singh saw it and thought it would be beneficial for everyone."

Michigan Medical PC's 64-slice scanner at its ImagingCenter at

4100 Lake Drive SE
is also open to all referrals, said Marketing Manager Deidre McClelland.

The scanners are the newest versions of technology first introduced in the early 1990s. When the slices are stacked together by a computer, they provide a detailed, cross-section view of inside the body. Multi-slice scanners started out with just two slices.

Today the 64-slice scanner is in use, but 128- and 256-slice CT scanners are in development.    

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