MRI Suite Expansion at UVA Hospital Now Underway

April 25, 2024 by   |   Leave a Comment

The MRI expansion construction is scheduled to finish in early 2025.

In 2020, the COVID-19 pandemic indefinitely halted a construction project to nearly double the size of the MRI suite at the University of Virginia’s University Hospital.

“The hospital was trying to conserve its revenue reserves during COVID-19,” says James Carnes, UVA Department of Radiology’s medical center administrator. “So major projects like that did not move forward during that time.”

Four years later, construction is finally in progress, with plans to finish in early 2025. The MRI suite expansion will reside in the former space of the Interventional Radiology suite, which was moved to the second floor of the South Tower in early 2020.

The resulting vacant space offered a chance to bolster UVA’s MRI resources. The current MRI suite contains just three scanners that serve the entire hospital, as well as outpatients that can’t be scanned at UVA’s other sites. This large patient volume has required imperfect solutions.

“Currently we have a scanner that’s in a trailer behind the hospital,” says Carnes. “We can do outpatients on that scanner, but it leads to a lot of inefficiency with staffing and patient flow.”

The expanded MRI suite will add a fourth scanner within the hospital, which Carnes says will help address those inefficiency issues associated with the trailer. Moreover, the current renovation project will include space to eventually house an additional fifth scanner.

The project will add room for additional scanners, preparation and recovery space for patients, and an anesthesia support area for patients with sedation needs. 

“We anticipate filing a Certificate of Public Need (COPN) to permit us to acquire a fifth MRI scanner,” says Carnes. “But the expansion project will include a vault for a fifth scanner, so it’ll be ready.”

There’s more to the MRI suite expansion than additional scanners. The project adds more preparation and recovery space for patients, and also includes an anesthesia support area for patients with sedation needs.

While it’ll be several months until the new area is ready for patients, the progress is encouraging – especially given the setbacks.

“I’m glad it’s finally underway,” says Carnes.



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