By Tony Parra: PNT Staff Writer
A full-body MRI scan of patients in Portales in time will be a 24-7 option at the Roosevelt General Hospital with the help of a $1.04 million grant and loan from the United States Department of Agriculture Rural Development program.
U.S. Sen. Pete Domenici and U.S. Sen. Jeff Bingaman announced in separate press releases that the USDA approved a $740,000 no-interest, 10-year loan and $300,000 grant to the Roosevelt General Hospital. The loan and grant were awarded through the Roosevelt County Rural Telephone Cooperative to support the purchase of a Magnetic Resonance Image (MRI) scanner and other equipment for the RGH.
James D’Agostino, RGH administrator, said representatives from Roosevelt County Rural Telephone Coop. matched $60,000 to bring the funding to $1.1 million and they were also responsible for grant-writing.
D’Agostino said, currently, the RGH uses a mobile truck for MRI service, contracted from Abilene, Texas. He said the MRI service is provided approximately one-and-a-half days each week. He said on the days RGH doesn’t offer the MRI service, the patients have to go to Clovis or Lubbock for the service.
The funding will allow RGH to have a modular building be built next to the hospital and to have the MRI equipment to be able to offer the service at all times.
“We utilized the talent from the rural coops to receive funding,” D’Agostino said. “A lot of the credit goes to them (rural telephone coop.). This was possible thanks to Roosevelt County Rural Telephone Co-op.”
Both the Roosevelt County Electric Co-op. and Roosevelt County Telephone Co-op. employees wrote grants which brought money to RGH in 2000. The new hospital opened in 2001.
The funding will add six jobs to the hospital’s radiology program, including two full-time licensed and registered MRI technicians, two full-time licensed and registered X-ray technicians, a full-time clerk and a secretary/scheduler.
“I am pleased with this grant-loan award that will bring an added level of medical care at the Roosevelt General Hospital and give the community the resources to support the medical professionals who use it,” Domenici said in a press release.
D’Agostino said the RGH should begin receiving money from the U.S.D.A. in a couple of months, but couldn’t project a date that the MRI service would be available.