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About Corvallis MRI


Introduction to Corvallis MRI top

Corvallis MRI was founded in 1988 and is served by 10 radiologists, as well as 7 ARRT certified MRI technologists with a combined experience of over 52 years. We are located in the Neville Building on the Good Sam campus. We serve Oregon’s beautiful Willamette Valley with the most advanced MRI services available.

History of Corvallis MRI top

In 1989, magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), or as it was then called nuclear magnetic resonance imaging (NMRI), was still in its infancy having only been discovered a decade before. Researchers, scientists and physicians all hoped it would be a non invasive, non radiation producing imaging technique that would replace all other imaging methods. Although MRI has not replaced any other imaging methods it quickly found its own niche in the myriad of diagnostic imaging tests available. Today MRI is still one of the fastest growing imaging specialties and has become the method of choice in neurologic conditions and musculoskeletal disorders.

In the summer of 1989 Corvallis MRI was formed with a vision of bringing this new breathtaking technology to the patients of the Corvallis area. The joint venture consisted of:

  • FMR Inc. (Frank Morse, MD)
  • Corvallis Radiology PC
  • Good Samaritan Hospital
  • Corvallis Clinic, PC

Currently under construction on the Corvallis hospital campus, the Charles Neville Building was to become the home of Corvallis MRI.

A state of the art 0.3T (Tesla) MRI system manufactured by FONAR Inc. out of Long Island, NY was installed in the fall of 1989 performing its first Corvallis area MRI exams shortly thereafter. This permanent magnet “open” system was the greatest imaging technology to come to Corvallis since CT (computed tomography). It allowed physicians, for the first time, to look into the body in a completely revolutionary way, without the use of ionizing radiation and the application of IV contrast material.

In the ensuing years the technology of MRI continued to grow at an ever increasing pace fueled by the development of faster and faster computers and better understanding of this young technology. Exam volumes continued to grow as more and more applications for MRI became known.

In 1993 the group decided it was time to upgrade its existing MRI system in order to continue to serve the Corvallis area with the latest technology available. In November 1993 the FONAR 0.3T MRI system was replaced by a 1.5T Signa Advantage MRI system manufactured by General Electric Medical Systems, now GE Healthcare. This new superconducting MRI system contained a magnet that was 5x more powerful than the one it replaced. In addition, the computer capabilities increased the amount of data we could collect which in turn drastically decreased exam times and increased usability. Exam times decreased from ≈15 minutes per sequence to ≈4-5 minutes.

In 1997 The Corvallis Clinic, PC sold its interest in Corvallis MRI to a Portland based firm, Physician Partners Inc. (PPI). FMR, Inc. was bought out leaving the joint venture composed of Corvallis Radiology, PC, Physician Partners Inc., and Good Samaritan Hospital.

MRI technology continued to advance and in the fall of 1998 the Signa Advantage system was upgraded with new electronics and software to the latest GE platform called the LX Horizon. This new platform also introduced a new user interface for the technologist based on Windows. This change streamlined the scanning process making it much more efficient. Computer power continued to increase our ability to scan faster with higher resolution. A few new sequences gave us the ability to actually acquire a 3D volume of tissue. Multiple receiver coil assemblies allowed increased resolution and anatomical coverage. By this time MRI had become a necessary imaging tool and a standard of care in most communities.

Over the next 10 years MRI usage continued to climb rapidly. The technical staff of Corvallis MRI began servicing other communities via two independent mobile MRI companies. During this decade modifications were made periodically in the computer systems (more powerful and faster), magnet hardware and software. New applications such as the introduction of IV contrast media, breath hold imaging times and dedicated surface coils increased the number and types of procedures that could be done. 3D dataset imaging became common place. Magnetic resonance angiography started to replace some invasive procedures such as catheter angiography. Diffusion weighted imaging, looking specifically for stroke was helpful in determining treatment options. Techniques to image the breast and heart quickly started to change the management of disease. Technologies such as MR spectroscopy (MRS) and functional imaging (fMRI) started to make their way into routine community based MRI centers.

In 2000 Physician Partners Inc. sold their share in Corvallis MRI. The joint venture now consisted of only two remaining members; Corvallis Radiology, PC and Good Samaritan Hospital.

It became obvious in the winter of 2007 that MRI technology had evolved to a point where Corvallis MRI felt it was necessary to replace its current MRI system. At this time most routine imaging was performed on MRI systems ranging in strength from 0.3T to 1.5T. A few higher strength magnets operating at 3.0T were found mostly in academic and research centers. GE Healthcare had recently unveiled an entire new MRI system termed the MR750 Discovery.

This new system was built from the ground up to take advantage of the newest development in computer, magnet and gradient technology and operated at 3.0T. It promised to solve many of the technical issues that had been plaguing imaging at these higher field strengths. Corvallis MRI made the decision to take a bold leap forward to provide its patients with the latest diagnostic imaging available.

In the winter of 2008 Corvallis MRI shut down its Neville Building magnet to begin removal of the current MRI system and begin the construction necessary to install this new state of the art system. For approximately 6 month patient imaging was performed in a mobile MRI trailer based in the parking lot behind the Neville Bldg.

In June of 2009 the doors opened and imaging began using the new GE MR750 Discovery 3T MRI system.

This new system when installed was the first of its kind serving patients on the West Coast in a routine clinical setting providing unparalleled imaging capabilities.

In the future you can depend on Corvallis MRI to continue its tradition of serving the patients of Corvallis with the most state of the art MR imaging available.

American College of Radiology MRI Accreditation top

Corvallis MRI began the ACR accreditation process in December 2009. This process requires that the facility has proven clinical protocols that have been approved by the medical director. In addition a quality assurance program must be in place for several months before beginning the accreditation process.

ACR History top

The American College of Radiology’s history of developing and administering accreditation programs that assess the quality of imaging facilities dates back to 1963. In 1987, the ACR introduced the Mammography Accreditation Program. This program attracted widespread, voluntary participation from facilities wanting to be recognized for performing quality mammography. In 1992, the federal government mandated that all mammography facilities be accredited. Based on the mammography program’s success and the wide variation observed both in image services and in the quality provided by health care facilities, the ACR developed other, modality-specific accreditation programs. These programs include Radiation Oncology (1987), Ultrasound (1995), Stereotactic Breast Biopsy (1996), Magnetic Resonance Imaging (1996), Breast Ultrasound (1998), Nuclear Medicine (1999), Computed Tomography (2002) and Radiography/Fluoroscopy (2002).

ACR Purpose top

The purpose of the accreditation programs is to set quality standards for practices and help them continuously improve upon the quality of care they give to their patients. Designed to be educational in nature, the ACR Accreditation Programs evaluate qualifications of personnel, equipment performance, effectiveness of quality control measures, and quality of clinical images. It is believed that these are primary factors that affect the quality of clinical images and ultimately the quality of patient care.

The MRI Accreditation Program evaluates the qualifications of personnel, the quality control program, MR Safety Policies and image quality specific to MRI. It involves the acquisition of clinical and phantom images and corresponding data for each unit. The acquisition of the phantom images involves the use of a designated MRI phantom appropriate to the unit or module listed on the application. Every unit must go through testing for the facility to be accredited. Facilities seeking ACR accreditation in other modalities do so voluntarily, but for a variety of very good reasons:

  • Peer review, educationally-focused evaluation of practice
  • May document need for dedicated equipment, continuing education or qualified personnel
  • Expert assessment of image quality
  • Formal review may be used to meet criteria of ACS, state or federal government, or third-party payers
  • Medicare and other payers have enacted reimbursement policies that may require accreditation
  • Marketing tool

Personnel Qualifications For MRI Accreditation—Physician top

The physician has the responsibility for all aspects of the study including, but not limited to, reviewing all indications for the examination, specifying the pulse sequences to be performed, specifying the use and dosage of contrast agents, interpreting images, generating written reports, and assuring the quality of both the images and interpretations. All physicians who supervise and/or interpret MRI examinations must be a licensed medical practitioner who meets the following minimum criteria:

  • Board certification in radiology or diagnostic radiology.
  • Supervision and/or performance of, as well as interpretation and/or review and reporting of, 300 MRI examinations within the last 36 months.
  • Upon renewal, physicians reading MRI examinations must have read an average of 9 exams per month over the prior 24-month period.
  • Upon renewal, physicians must have earned at least 15 CME in MRI hours in the prior 36-month period.

Personnel Qualifications For MRI Accreditation—Technologist top

  • ARRT, ARMRIT or CAMRT registered as an MR technologist.
  • Experience in the intravenous administration of conventional MR contrast, supervised by a qualified physician or a qualified technologist.
  • Maintain Basic Life Support (BLS) certification
  • Be capable of using an automatic external defibrillator (AED)
  • Technologists practicing MRI scanning should be licensed in the jurisdiction in which he/she practices, if state licensure for MRI technologists exists.
  • 24 hours of Category A CME every two years (including MRI as is appropriate to the technologist’s practice needs)

Quality Control Testing top

All facilities applying for accreditation must maintain a documented quality control (QC) program. The ongoing QC program assesses relative changes in system performance as determined by the technologist, service engineer, qualified medical physicist/MR scientist, or supervising physician.

Quality Assurance Physician Peer-Review Requirements top

Examinations should be systematically reviewed and evaluated as part of the overall quality improvement program at the facility4. Monitoring should include evaluation of the accuracy of interpretation as well as the appropriateness of the examination. Complications and adverse events or activities that may have the potential for sentinel events must be monitored, analyzed and reported as required, and periodically reviewed in order to identify opportunities to improve patient care.

MR Safe Practice Guidelines top

Safety guidelines, practices, and policies shall be written, enforced, reviewed, and documented at least annually by the MR supervising physician.

ACR Related Links top

Contact Information top

MRI Professional Contact:
Bart Pierce, MRI Coordinator
bartp@samhealth.org
Corvallis MRI
(541) 768-5187

Media Contact:
Jennifer Nitson, Public Relations Coordinator
jnitson@samhealth.org
Good Samaritan Regional Medical Center
(541) 768-5090

Location & Map top

Corvallis MRI is located in the Charles Neville Building, Good Samaritan Regional Medical Center

3615 NW Samaritan Drive, Suite 101
Corvallis, Oregon 97330

Phone: 541-768-5187
Fax: 541-768-5092
Billing: 541-768-4392

© 2013 Corvallis MRI. All rights reserved.

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