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MSU Health Care Breast Imaging Center gets new home, upgraded technology at McLaren Greater Lansing

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Leigh Ann Cobb Photography
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A patient receiving mammography at the new MSU Health Care at McLaren Greater Lansing Breast Imaging Center

MSU Health Care Imaging Services is an integral part of MSU Healthcare. The imaging services clinics have served the mid-Michigan community since 1975. The dedicated team of healthcare professionals has pioneered research and clinical applications in radiology and established a world-class reputation for excellence in quality patient care and academic achievement. They're getting a new location at the McLaren Greater Lansing Hospital.

Colleen Hoffman is the radiology administrator for MSU Health Care Imaging Services. And Holly Peterson is the assistant radiology administrator.

“We oversee the day-to-day operations within the imaging services department,” says Hoffman. “We've split up the modalities. I'm in charge of PET, CT, and MRI.”

“And I'm in charge of ultrasound, mammography and general x-ray,” adds Peterson.

MSU Health Care has been around for years,” continues Hoffman. “The Department of Radiology has been around since the mid-1980s. It was started by Dr. James Potchen. We provide outpatient imaging in the modalities I mentioned. We serve the community. We try to be patient-centric. We try to meet the needs of our patients while addressing the needs of our referring physicians within our own MSU Healthcare and outside the community.”

“I think people believe that it's just for MSU employees or retirees or students,” says Peterson. “And although we do take care of those people, we serve the entire community.”

What do you mean by patient-centric?

“We try to provide appointment times that are flexible,” Hoffman says. “In MRI, we start at 6:15 in the morning and we run until 10:30 at night so people can come before or after work. Most outpatient doctor’s offices are only open 8:00 to 5:00. We have expanded hours to help meet patient needs. We run on the weekends to help patients get in in a timely fashion without having to impact their life.”

Tell me about the new facility. What are you going to be able to do that you haven't been able to do before?

“We are joining in this great joint venture with McLaren, bringing the best of both worlds together and providing quality patient care,” adds Peterson. “We have a brand-new facility with all brand new equipment.

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Lindsay Gluf-Magar
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Holly Peterson, left, Colleen Hoffman, right

“I like to say we’re a full circle women's imaging and breast care facility. We do screening mammograms and follow up diagnostic ultrasounds. We do biopsies, ultrasound biopsies, and stereo biopsies. And then if there is an unfortunate situation where a woman or man does have cancer, we're able to continue care right there in one facility.”

“Right, patients don’t have to leave the community for care,” adds Hoffman. “We're trying to keep everything within the community for our patients and draw in those from the outside the community.

“We’re going to be going live with imaging in our new facility on February 28. The hospital proper is going live on March 6. By moving us early because we're outpatient-based, we will be in what's called the Outpatient Care Center, which is on the north side of the hospital. So, we're connected, but we're sort of outside. There’s convenient parking; you don't have to go in the hospital. And I have to say, McLaren has done a phenomenal job on the interior.”

The facility features a coffee shop, smoothie bar, and a Walgreens.

“There are a lot of added features that patients and their families can enjoy,” says Peterson. If a patient or a family member has to spend the day there, there will be a lot of things to do, and they should be comfortable while they're there.”

“We’re very excited about the state-of-the-art facilities, but we want people to know that we have the same staff,” Peterson says. “We have patients who we have seen for years who want to see familiar faces. Those familiar faces from both MSU and McLaren will be there. We’ll have easy parking and access. Even though we are moving locations, patients will see the same people they've seen year after year after year. I think that's going to provide some comfort to people. It's not totally new, it's just a new location. We are going to provide a new biopsy modality for those women who must have breast biopsies. Currently, we do them in an upright position where the patient must be upright so we can access it with a needle. Sometimes it's not always accessible that way and so we may end up taking the patient to surgery to do it. We have a new piece of equipment that is known as a prone biopsy table where you lie face down on the table and the radiologist can access your breast that way. That's going to open more biopsy potential.”

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Lindsay Gluf-Magar
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Holly Peterson, Colleen Hoffman, Russ White

“Between the supine biopsy, prone biopsy, and ultrasound biopsy, we should be able to do exactly what we need to do there,” adds Hoffman. “And with added staff physicians, our goal is to be able to be one-stop shop where patients get in and out as quickly as possible with no delay.”

Are people referred to you from a primary care physician or do they just come right to you or both?

“For screening mammograms, they don't really need a referral, but we do have to have a doctor to send a report to and then any follow ups from that,” says Peterson. “If you're having problems, if you're having breast problems, you would need to go see your primary care physician or your OB-GYN doctor, and we would need a referral for that.”

How have you seen the technology change over your time doing this and what excites you the most now?

“Mammography has gone from 2D to 3D, and even getting to 2D was a big jump,” says Peterson. Now all our machines are 3D. You don't have to have a 3D mammography, but most people do. Insurance is now on board with 3D mammography where they didn't used to be. With that technology alone, we're able to look at the breast in a totally different way. A lot of women have dense breasts, and this helps with that. Ultrasound-wise, the machines and the technology are so much better. Our technologists are very experienced. I have one technologist who’s at the breast center all the time. She's registered in breast ultrasound, and we have a couple techs who are registered and they're phenomenal. That's 90 percent of what they do. And having that experience does make a difference.”

“The design both inside and outside the hospital has been thoughtfully done,” Hoffman adds. “Most patients will come to us off Forest Road and will enter parking lot C; there's a parking structure right there. We're conveniently located up on the third floor. We have a beautiful suite. There are four check-in desks, a pretty waiting room, and private dressing rooms for all the modalities. And in the back of our suite, we’re staffed by breast surgeons available on certain days of the week. We can coordinate visits so everything can be done in one visit.”

“We will also continue to offer bone density exams at the new location,” Peterson continues. “A lot of patients correlate their yearly mammogram with a bone density exam, and we will continue to offer that service. Our bone density machines do great things. And our bone density techs are certified as well.”

MSU Health Care at McLaren Greater Lansing has been in the works for approximately three years, and we've divided it up into two different phases,” says Hoffman. “Phase one is the one that's going live with the breast imaging center. Everything that is currently within our Eyde Building sixth floor women's imaging facility will be moving over to the new location. Our website will have the latest information on the change in our phone numbers. We're going to transfer calls and all that information can be found there.

“Phase two is when we're going to be moving some other modalities. Currently, everything will stay the same at the MSU Clinical Center, and x-ray will be available on the Eyde fourth and fifth floors. In late summer of 2023, we're moving into a new building that's going to be built. It's under construction right now, but with it being winter, they've only moved dirt. It's going to be on the south side of the hospital. We've been very involved in the construction and the design working with the architects. We're extremely excited about that. We will be moving general x-ray and ultrasound. We will have another DEXA machine there. CT, PET and MRI will move there. Everything that is currently at the MSU Clinical Center will move over in the summer of 2023. We'll keep our website and the community updated.”

MSU Today airs Sunday mornings at 9:00 on WKAR News/Talk and Sunday nights at 8:00 on 760 WJR. Find, rate, and subscribe to MSU Today with Russ White on Spotify, Apple Podcasts, and wherever you get your shows. And please share this conversation if you're so inclined.