Clinic first to offer diagnostic imaging services

By BUSTER WOLFE,

Hattiesburg Clinic’s Endovascular Center is the first office-based facility in South Mississippi to offer diagnostic imaging services of an invasive nature as an extension of the physicians’ clinical office.

The Mississippi State Department of Health cleared the way with the May 25 approval of an additional $25,000 capital expense. The cost overrun for the project included the purchase of an intravascular ultrasound machine for $24,895.34, making the revised capital expenditure $609,239.34.

Doug Johnson, Vascular Specialists a0dministrator at Hattiesburg Clinic, said the Endovascular Center was established in 2016.

“Improvements in technology, anesthesia and physician training allow the movement of more vascular procedures to an outpatient setting,” he said. “Our vascular physicians focus on circulatory issues that deal with the vessel network outside of the heart. As part of their services, the physicians perform diagnostic imaging procedures of an invasive nature using ultrasound capabilities to diagnose and subsequently treat physical anomalies and plaque blockages of the peripheral vascular system.”

“If warranted by the diagnosis, the physician may use devices to remove plaque or insert wall-expanding stents to open up vessel passages to relieve pain or save limbs.”

Johnson said these types of outpatient vascular procedures had only been offered in hospitals and ambulatory surgery centers in the Pine Belt.

“The Endovascular Center is located immediately adjacent to the Vascular Specialists department on the second floor of Hattiesburg Clinic,” he said. “It consists of four patient prep/recovery bays and a procedure room staffed with nurses and radiology techs. Three board-certified, fellowship-trained vascular surgeons who specialize in peripheral circulatory issues provide the services. This center allows lower-risk patients to receive diagnostic and interventional examinations of vascular deficiencies in a lower-cost, patient-centered office setting, usually within the same week of their initial visit for pain or limb-threatening condition.”

The Intravascular Ultrasound device, or IVUS, is an imaging instrument that is introduced via catheter to look at blood vessels from inside of the vessel.

“Once a blockage of blood is detected by the fluoroscope and dyes, the physician examines the blockage with the IVUS and determines if plaque is present that needs to be removed, or if an expanding mesh, or stent, can open up a restrictive curvature of the vessel,” Johnson said.

Mississippi's Certificate of Need process is a component of the state's health planning and health regulator/activities. In managing the Certificate of Need process, the Department seeks to improve the health of Mississippi residents; to increase accessibility, acceptability, continuity and quality of health services; to prevent unnecessary duplication of health resources; and to provide some cost containment.

The MSDH has administered the Certificate of Need program since July 1986. Since then, more than 1,400 Certificate of Need applications have been reviewed, representing total capital expenditures of about $5 billion.