Madelia, Minn. – The Leona M. and Harry B. Helmsley Charitable Trust has granted $193,000 to Madelia Health to purchase a Siemens Sequoia Ultrasound machine as part of a $26.4 million ultrasound initiative in Minnesota. The initiative includes nearly $18.3 million to help Minnesota hospitals and health centers purchase ultrasound imaging devices and an additional $8.1 million to boost sonography and point of care ultrasound training opportunities across the state.
The grants were announced to the public on March 21, during a news conference at Hennepin Healthcare in Minneapolis. Madelia Health personnel Melissa Hunt, Radiology Department Manager, and Dana Timm, Radiologic Technologist/Ultrasound Technician both attended the event.
Ultrasound uses high-frequency sound waves to produce images of structures inside the body. This safe, cost-effective tool supports other clinical information to help providers make timely diagnoses and provide appropriate treatment without exposing patients to radiation. While ultrasound is most commonly associated with pregnancies, the scanners are also used in emergencies to identify internal injuries and make decisions on treatments.
“Our new machine allows for increased penetration of anatomy which provides accurate diagnostic images to help us treat our patients,” said Dana Timm, Radiologic Technologist/Ultrasound Technician. “We also have access to more cameras like our 4D/OB Transducer which has amazing clarity. Our obstetric patients and our ultrasound technologists enjoy the detailed images it can provide.”
During the press conference, Walter Panzirer, a Trustee for the Helmsley Charitable Trust, said the grants will help improve access to exceptional medical treatment for all Minnesotans, whether they live in the heart of Minneapolis or a smaller rural or underserved community.
“”Your ZIP code should not determine your health care outcome,” Panzirer said, “but unfortunately it does. Our hospitals and health centers need to stay current with rapidly advancing technology so they can continue to provide top-notch health care close to home. These grants help ensure that facilities across Minnesota have the latest and greatest ultrasound equipment and training.”
The initiative also includes more than $8.1 million to train new sonographers, offer continuing education to current sonographers and ultrasound technologists, and provide comprehensive training to doctors, physician assistants, and nurse practitioners. The funding will allow for broader training, including online sessions where trainers can guide practitioners on their real-time use of ultrasound scanners at their hospitals. Helmsley leaders encouraged doctors across the state at select Critical Access Hospitals to sign up for the improved training now that their hospitals have the technology.
“These grants are a game changer for rural hospitals across the state,” said Thomas Pahl, PA-C, an emergency department clinician, instructor with HQMEDED, and member of the Minnesota State Trauma Advisory Council. “Clinicians and sonographers will not only have access to the newest ultrasound equipment, but they can also pursue educational opportunities to become more proficient at using the equipment, expand the studies they can perform, and incorporate these skills into their clinical practices.”
Over the years, Minnesota has gained nearly $100 million in grants from the Helmsley Charitable Trust, which includes rural health care as one of its five priorities. The Madelia Health Radiology Department was also the grateful recipient of Helmsley Trust Grants to purchase a Mobile X-ray System in 2019 and a Computed Tomography (CT) scanner in 2017.