Local medical center making improvements

February 16, 2017 GMT

NEEDLES — With the sale of the Colorado River Medical Center being finalized, the medical center can focus on completing projects that will in turn help the nurses, doctors and staff better help the community.

One project already completed involved the facility’s ability to withstand one of the state’s famous earthquakes.

“One of the things that we had to do right away when we bought the medical center was seismic safety, which is an NPC 2 requirement ” said Steve Lopez, CEO at Colorado River Medical Center. “We had to bring the hospital up to the California Office of Statewide Health Planning and Development (OSHPD) seismic code and that’s what we did last year. So we are really glad that the sale is finalized and now we are focusing on some major projects that we are currently working on.”


One project is relocation of the CT scan equipment.

“When we purchased the hospital from the city, they had an old existing single slice CT scan in the parking lot inside a trailer so when we came in we upgraded to an eight slice CT scan machine,” said Lopez. “Our goal now is to bring that rig inside the hospital and upgrade it to a 16 slice GE CT Scanner. So this piece of equipment will help us serve the community better by speeding up the process and our X-ray techs won’t have to be walking inside and out all the time.”

In order to be totally compliant with OSHPD, the medical center had to put 10 percent of the project into upgrading and designing certain areas to be compliant with the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA).

“We are converting some of our bathrooms into what is called ADA staff bathrooms and we are changing the bathrooms in the reception area to be ADA compliant as well,” said Lopez. “We are aiming for mid-March to be done with all of the upgrades and be ready to move in the CT scanner machine.”

The medical center was recently able to purchase a piece of technology that will give them an opportunity to better serve the community.

“We were able to purchase a brand new state-of-the-art ultrasound machine and we have a lead tech that is showing all the other X-ray techs how to use it,” said Lopez. “We will have ultrasound availability to the community 24 hours, seven days a week once all of the X-ray techs are trained.” Cecilia Ulibarri, radiology director at CRMC, said: “At the moment we have two technologists and we have five that are in training. With the old ultrasound machine we had limited penetration capability so anyone who wasn’t the perfect patient size we struggled with or we even had to turn them away. This new one won’t have that problem since we can scan all body types and we can do multiple diagnoses. So if a patient is 400 pounds and we need to see their kidneys, no problem bring them down and we’ll get it done. This one can also scan thyroids, masses and all of those things that are small and hard to see. The old machine we are using for vein access, vesicle scanning and other types of scanning which the machine was intended for.”