FLINT — A triangular shaped plaque now proudly displayed at the McLaren Imaging Center, 501 S. Ballenger Highway, is a sign to patients that the facility provides an exceptional level of care.
The tri-colored emblem designates the outpatient facility as a Diagnostic Imaging Center of Excellence (DICOE) recognized by the American College of Radiology (ACR). It is the first in this area and the third in the state to receive this distinction, according to a press release. Founded in 1924, the ACR is one of the largest and most influential medical associations in the United States.
The DICOE program represents the pinnacle of medical imaging care. It is an achievement that goes beyond accreditation to recognize best-quality imaging practices and diagnostic care. This includes a comprehensive assessment of the entire medical imaging enterprise, including structure and outcomes. The DICOE designation recognizes excellence at multiple levels — including the professional staff, the technology and the policies and procedures the organization follows, and superior patient care.
In order to receive this elite distinction, facilities must be accredited by the ACR in all modalities they provide, and in which the ACR offers an accreditation program. Another requirement is to participate in the Dose Index Registry and General Radiology Improvement Database, as well as Image Wisely and Image Gently. The McLaren Imaging Center offers X-Ray, Ultrasound, CT, Bone Density, Mammography and Nuclear Medicine services.
“Our entire patient care process was analyzed from the equipment we use, to the reporting we do, as well as the qualifications of our staff,” said Linda Lawrence, M.D., Board Certified Radiologist, who is Fellowship trained in Women’s Imaging and serves as the Medical Director of the McLaren Imaging Center.
“We pursued this accreditation so our patients would be assured they are coming to a facility that provides the highest quality care for imaging services and procedures, as recognized by the American College of Radiology,” she said.
McLaren Imaging Center’s stateof the-are digital technology includes mammography, ultrasound technology, fluoroscopy and nuclear medicine.
Diagnostic Imaging produces “pictures” that are interpreted by a trained physician. It can detect cancer, pneumonia, a broken bone and more.
Imaging proved to be a lifesaver for Azubah Weaver, 66, of Genesee Township, by detecting breast cancer at an early stage.
An abnormality picked up by a mammogram was too close to her chest wall to be found by a standard breast self-exam, said Weaver, who admits that, at first, she was an uncooperative patient who kept putting off follow up treatment.
It was in the midst of the brutal winter of January 2014 when Weaver visited her personal physician for a standard “Welcome to Medicare” exam. Her doctor recommended a mammogram as part of her preventative care but Weaver felt in good health and was unwilling to brave the cold weather, so she put it off for several months.
Because of the persistence of her doctor and Dr. Lawrence, Weaver finally scheduled the exam.
“They were a good team,’’ Weaver said. “I thank God that they were.”
An ultrasound led to a biopsy, which found that Weaver indeed had stage 1 cancer. Her diagnosis was “invasive duct carcinoma,” one of the most common breast cancers, but it also was “HER2Neu positive”, which is more aggressive, Weaver said.
“You hear the word cancer and it just sucks the breath right out of you,” Weaver said about all the treatment decisions she faced in the months to follow, including chemotherapy and surgery. Due to complications after her breast cancer surgery last September, she also had a kidney mega scan.
She’s spent a lot of time during the past 16 months at the McLaren Cancer Center in treatment and in support programs. She described staff members there as amazing, supportive and insightful.
“I honestly thank God for such a competent and professional team,” Weaver said. “As busy as they are, they really did take a personal interest in me.”