Patients at Butler County Health Care Center will soon benefit from studies using the latest in X-ray technology made possible through a grant from The Leona M. and Harry B. Helmsley Charitable Trust’s Rural Healthcare Program.

The Helmsley Charitable Trust has awarded Butler County Health Care Center $143,000 for a Siemen's Mobilett Mira Max Portable X-Ray Machine, part of a $14.2 million initiative to upgrade X-ray technology at 50 rural hospitals in the Upper Midwest.

“Butler County Health Care Center has greatly benefited over the years from the Helmsley Charitable Trust. Grant funds have been used to purchase a digital mammography unit, fund remote pharmacy services at the hospital, and most recently enabled the hospital to purchase a portable X-ray unit," Butler County Health CEO Don Baiberk said. “The facility's previous portable x-ray unit was manufactured in 1987. The new portable x-ray has greater mobility and is significantly lighter than the previous one, which allows for x-rays at the patient bedside with greater ease. The portable unit allows staff to access a patient exam from anywhere in the hospital using the touch screen. The newer portable x-ray captures a better digital image with lower patient dose than the previous unit.”

Walter Panzirer, a trustee for the Helmsley Charitable Trust, said the initiative represents the organization’s latest multi-site initiative to improve the quality of healthcare available to rural residents in Montana, North Dakota, South Dakota, Minnesota, Iowa, Nebraska and Wyoming.

“Our goal has always been to improve access to exceptional medical treatment for those who live in rural America,” Panzirer said. “To that end, rural hospitals need to remain viable and have the latest equipment to ensure their patients can receive essential, quality healthcare services locally. This initiative is just one of many that strives to improve healthcare outcomes throughout the Upper Midwest.”

Panzirer said critical access hospitals in the seven-state region are hampered by outdated equipment. Over the last four years, the Helmsley Charitable Trust’s Rural Healthcare Program has awarded more than $30 million in grants to 82 hospitals in the Upper Midwest to purchase state-of-the-art computer tomography (CT) scanners.

The Helmsley Charitable Trust’s latest initiative addresses out-of-date x-ray technology that underserves patients and jeopardizes the health of physicians and x-ray technicians, according to Panzirer.

The $14.2 million in grants will allow replacement of a total of 87 pieces of equipment, including: 32 fixed X-ray devices with an average age of 16 years; 47 portable X-ray devices with an average age of 28 years; three fixed fluoroscopy devices averaging nine years and five portable C-arms with an average age of 16 years.

“With one particular grant to a rural North Dakota hospital, the trust is replacing an X-ray device that has been in service since 1967,” Panzirer said. “Technology has advanced so much, even over the last decade, that these grants, allowing for the purchase of advanced X-ray devices, will provide incredible benefits for medical workers and their patients for the foreseeable future.”

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