Spectrum offers new cancer services

REED CITY – Breast care patients at Spectrum Health Reed City hospital receive the same quality of care as at the Spectrum Health locations in Grand Rapids. Now the breast care services department also operates under the same name.

Spectrum Health Reed City Hospital was named March 16 as the newest location to offer Betty Ford Breast Care Services, joining the network’s seven locations in the greater Grand Rapids area.

“It doesn’t matter if you come to this Spectrum Health or the Spectrum Health in Grand Rapids. It is the same services that you’re getting,” said Kathy Stein, director of clinical diagnostics at Spectrum Health Reed City Hospital.

Betty Ford Breast Care Services honors the legacy of the late First Lady Betty Ford, who used her platform to speak openly and honestly about her own breast care diagnosis, inspiring millions of women to take charge of their breast health and get a mammogram.

The hospital has been working to meet the criteria to be named a Betty Ford site for a year and a half. Criteria includes having top-notch equipment such as two new ultrasound units, stereotactic breast biopsy equipment, and equipment for digital mammography, as well as logging each image into the database to be reviewed by top radiologists. The strict criteria ensures that women receive high-quality screening and diagnostic testing at every location.

“We share the exact same processes, equipment, services,” Stein said. “Every location has the latest digital breast cancer screening and treatment technology.”

The Betty Ford Breast Care Services site at Reed City Hospital is the only site outside of the Grand Rapids area, an area with a much greater population and a larger potential client base. The naming shows a level of expertise that would usually not be expected from a small town hospital.

“It’s not so much about the volume (of patients), it’s about the quality of service,” Stein said. “We can provide the same services that (patients) would get at bigger hospitals.”

Betty Ford Breast Care Services at Spectrum Health Reed City Hospital offers services to women including digital screening and diagnostic mammography, breast ultrasound and biopsy, computer-aided detection, breast MRI, ultrasound-guided cyst aspiration, stereotactic breast biopsy, lymphatic mapping and more. The site is accredited for both screening and diagnostics.

As a Betty Ford Breast Care Services location, Reed City Hospital collaborates with Spectrum Health Lemmen-Holton Cancer Pavilion in Grand Rapids to coordinate care. The same group of radiologists reads imaging studies whether they originate in Reed City or Grand Rapids. Spectrum Health’s shared picture archiving communication system provides ready access to digital images.

“If we have a patient here and we have something we are questioning, we could just call (radiologists in Grand Rapids) on the phone,” Stein said. “By us being connected, it takes the responsibility off the patients of trying to get the images to them. They can just go to the system and pull it up.”

Ease of access to digital images is an important advantage when a woman needs treatment for advanced breast health issues and ensures no time is wasted in the process, Stein said.

“The consistency and coordination of services helps streamline the health care experience,” said Elaine Bower, program administrator, Spectrum Health Breast Care Services. “We are proud to have Reed City Hospital extend our reach to women in Northern Michigan.”

The hospital will not hire new employees or receive new equipment due to the service’s new title, but will operate their regular service under a new name. The breast care center serves 114 referring physicians in Mecosta, Lake, Osceola, Mason, Newaygo and Clare counties. The center currently performs mammograms for 200 women per month, but the hospital hopes the new name will increase confidence in the services and expand their client base.

“This adds value for referring physicians who are referring their patients to get some of the best care in the region,” said Sue Snavely, media relations at Spectrum Health Reed City Hospital. “We’re working hard to bring patients the latest technology and the same expertise they would expect travelling to Grand Rapids.”

A yearly mammogram is one of the best things women age 40 and older can do for their health, Stein said. Services are available by appointment in the diagnostic imaging department within Reed City Hospital. A sign will be up in the next few months labeling the center with its new title.

“Women’s health is important,” Stein said. “You would want to go a good well-known center to have your mammogram done to know that you’re being handled by the best professionals possible and their image quality is going to be excellent.”

The hospital also has programs available for women who are interested in receiving care from BFBCS but are limited financially.

“We will remove those barriers and find a way,” Snavely said. “We have plenty of financial assistance available.”

Women in need of financial assistance can call 832-7132. To schedule a mammogram through the Betty Ford Breast Care Services at Reed City Hospital, call (231) 832-7135.