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Annual Report 2021 A year in review

Looking back on another year of COVID-19
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Increasing patient satisfaction with improved Radiology services

For more than 10 years, CMH partnered with Pacific Coast Imaging (PCI), a private radiology practice in Astoria, to offer on-site imaging services for patients. Dr. Houman Sabahi, who retired in the last year, as well as Dr. Ali Batouli and Dr. Bill Armington, were longtime providers for radiology reads and procedures. Virtual Radiology (V-Rad) covered after-hours, weekend and holiday reads (and still does, for the time being).

Because of this, patients received two bills for imaging visits — one from CMH for the technical fee and one from PCI or V-Rad for professional reading. This often led to patient confusion and dissatisfaction.

In early 2019, interventional radiologist Dr. Kenneth Kolbeck joined CMH from the Dotter Institute at Oregon Health & Science University (OHSU), here for a short time each week for interventional procedures and clinic visits. Because of his expertise, CMH can offer more advanced interventional radiology procedures in Astoria. These include port-a-cath placements and various internal organ biopsy, drain placement and cryoablation procedures.

CMH decided to transition radiology services in-house through a partnership with OHSU in 2020. In July 2021, the integration with OHSU was made official with the hiring of full-time radiologist, Dr. Robert Leatherman. Dr. Kolbeck is also now full-time and the medical director of imaging at CMH. Other OHSU radiologists in Portland help by reading PET/CT exams formerly covered by V-Rad.

Having skilled radiologists here in Astoria allows for more timely access to procedures. In all situations, patients receive just one bill, offering more satisfaction and less frustration. There is a stronger affiliation between CMH and OHSU’s imaging departments, in addition to better integration with the radiologists and our professional staff.

With the new group in place, we saw an increase in volume almost immediately. Procedures are more timely, and provider referrals have increased. We have grown from an average of 3,150 patients per month to 3,300, with an increase in examinations of over 300 per month. A third full-time provider, Dr. Al Pakalniskis, joins the team in July 2022, and we will continue recruiting for a fourth radiologist.