Monday was an exciting day for the McPherson Center for Health and the McPherson Healthcare Foundation — groundbreaking for a permanent home for an MRI unit.


"A permanent MRI unit has always been part of our strategic plan," said Terri Gehring, CEO. "The new unit will improve the patient experience and give our physicians the high-quality images expected from today’s technology."


The $2.8 million project, labeled ‘Phase Two" of the hospital’s long-range facility plan, will add a permanent MRI unit, centralize women’s care imaging, and unite the Hess Fitness Center with Rehabilitation Services in one location.


Currently McPherson Center for Health has a mobile tractor-trailer MRI unit three days each week with specific hours.


"We realize there are limitations with our current process so we are eager to have our own unit that will give our patients the level of care they deserve," Gehring said.


The MRI unit will be housed in a newly constructed addition to the radiology department on the northeast corner of the hospital. A renovated portion of the radiology department will repurpose existing space for MRI patient consultation, dressing space, and some of the MRI’s mechanical equipment.


"Our image quality is going to be as good as anything this side of Kansas City, and it’s exciting to know we’ll have the highest quality available right here in McPherson," said


Family physician Dr. Greg Thomas


The McPherson Healthcare Foundation is supporting the effort through the "Champions for Growth" fundraising campaign, with the goal of raising $1.8 million by the end for 2020. The hospital will fund the remaining $1 million.


"Just from our initial donor conversations, we already have $900,000 in commitments. We aim to raise the remaining $900,000 by December 31," said Foundation director Amy Bower


With initial capital outlay costs covered in part by the Foundation, the MRI unit is projected to provide immediate revenue.


"We’re already at a point where it’s financially favorable to own our MRI," said John Worden, Chief Operating Officer. "With the extended hours, better imaging capabilities and better patient experience, the new MRI will greatly benefit patients, providers, and the hospital."


In addition to the new MRI, the project includes a Women’s Imaging Center, which will be housed in a newly renovated space near the Women’s Care and Birth Center.


"We’ve been looking to centralize our growing women’s care practice, so this project gave us an opportunity to do that while freeing up space in the radiology department for the MRI," Gehring said.


The final aspect of the project involves relocating Hess Fitness Center to the former family practice building on the north side of campus, adjacent to Rehabilitation Services.


"We’ve received significant donations specific to the fitness center, and we’re taking advantage of consolidating construction efforts with the MRI project," Worden said. "Relocating the fitness center into a renovated space creates opportunities to share equipment and resources with physical and occupational therapy, while freeing its existing space for future needs."


Officials expect the MRI to be up and running in the first quarter of 2021.