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Cutting edge MRI equipment comes to MacDill

by Master Sgt. Claudia Cardamone
6th AMW Public Affairs
Photo by: Airman 1st Class Andrea Thacker
Dr. (Col.) Paul Phillips, flight commander of diagnostic imaging, looks at Cat Scan images.

MacDill will soon be able to perform Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI). Active-duty, dependents and Tricare patients are eligible for this service and can expect it to start later this month. The 6th Medical Group, along with Humana and Quorsai, acquired an MRI unit valued at more than $1 million. High-quality imaging is extremely expensive off-base, and this access will save the hospital and the medical group in excess of $500,000 annually, said Dr. (Lt Col.) Robert Schmitz, Diagnostic Radiologist. Additionally, MacDill expects to scan 10 to 15 cases per day, thereby significantly reducing overall wait times for eligible patients.

Dr. (Col.) Paul Phillips, flight commander of diagnostic imaging, said he and his staff are extremely pleased to have this cutting-edge technology at their fingertips.

"MRI is the best imaging modality for differentiation of soft tissue problems," said Phillips. "It's very applicable for neurological issues of the brain and orthopedic cases of the shoulders, hips, knees, ankles and wrists. Our 'bread and butter' will be the orthopedic-related issues such as shoulder and knee injuries."

A mobile MRI unit will be staffed and operated by a civilian, and the images will be read by one of four active-duty radiologists, said Phillips.

"MacDill is fortunate to have four qualified radiologists on staff, each of whom scored in the top 20 percent on the board-certification examination. These talented doctors are excited about the new equipment and are committed to providing excellent care to the military community," he added.




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