University Updates on Coronavirus (COVID-19)

Diagnostic imaging reopens at West Ashley Medical Pavilion

New safety protocols in place to protect patients, staff from COVID-19 exposure

CHARLESTON, S.C. (April 13, 2020) – Ambulatory patients will now be able to address outstanding care needs with the reopening of diagnostic imaging capability at MUSC Health West Ashley Medical Pavilion. The facility is located in the former Citadel Mall campus, now known as the Charleston Epic Center. The facility was previously closed in its entirety for COVID-19 response and clinic consolidation purposes. Only the diagnostic service area has reopened at this time.

The facility offers added safety precautions for patients who need appointments for magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), ultrasound, CT scan and diagnostic X-ray procedures. Access to the facility is by appointment only, and the hours of 8-10 a.m. are designated only for individuals ages 55 and above. Each patient seen at the facility will receive a one-page document explaining key safety protocols. In addition, COVID testing will occur 48 hours prior to any procedure that requires anesthesia. The facility will have a general no visitor policy, with exceptions made prior to appointments for patients who require the presence of a designated caregiver. 

“From infectious disease specialists to information technology experts, our team worked together to find a way to help patients safely get their imaging needs met, despite the coronavirus pandemic,” said MUSC Health CEO Pat Cawley, M.D. “There were more than 4,000 patients whose imaging appointments were disrupted because of COVID-19, but those needs didn’t just go away. Our team was dedicated to finding a way to get these needs met as quickly and as safely as possible. With more data and time to track the spread of the virus here locally, we’re getting better at figuring out the new normal.”

Robust cleaning protocols will be evident over the full duration of the exam, far beyond what might have been considered normal and fully acceptable preCOVID-19. The process begins with a phone call to determine if the patient is free of COVID-19 symptoms and risk factors. On the day of the appointment, a patient will report to a designated and marked parking area and check in at a “front desk” located outside the building where a masked MUSC Health representative will take the patient’s temperature and ask a series of screening questions to assess the patient’s current condition. If symptom free, the patient will then get a mask and wash his or her hands. Following, a technologist will come out of the building to walk the patient to a registration desk indoors. 

Three isolation desks sit a minimum of 12 feet apart, with marked places to stand as patients arrive for appointment check-ins. A patient will move to a second hand-washing station and then proceed to a procedure room as air scrubbers and biofilters clean the air. Staff will escort patients post-exam to ensure that they do not pass other patients or staff in close proximity. 

Time is built into the imaging center’s schedule to accommodate 15-minute cleanings and the sterilization of procedures rooms, and all staff members will be masked, gowned and gloved while providing care. Personal protective equipment will be changed between patient encounters. 

“We are working very hard to be assertive when we can be to begin bringing important services back on line and keep our patients safe,” Cawley said. “The reopening of this imaging facility was really important, and the design and implementation of these new protocols demonstrate the can-do, innovative spirit of our team."

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About MUSC 

Founded in 1824 in Charleston, MUSC is the oldest medical school in the South as well as the state’s only integrated, academic health sciences center with a unique charge to serve the state through education, research and patient care. Each year, MUSC educates and trains more than 3,000 students and nearly 800 residents in six colleges: Dental Medicine, Graduate Studies, Health Professions, Medicine, Nursing and Pharmacy. The state’s leader in obtaining biomedical research funds, in fiscal year 2019, MUSC set a new high, bringing in more than $284 million. For information on academic programs, visit musc.edu.

As the clinical health system of the Medical University of South Carolina, MUSC Health is dedicated to delivering the highest quality patient care available while training generations of competent, compassionate health care providers to serve the people of South Carolina and beyond. Comprising some 1,600 beds, more than 100 outreach sites, the MUSC College of Medicine, the physicians’ practice plan and nearly 275 telehealth locations, MUSC Health owns and operates eight hospitals situated in Charleston, Chester, Florence, Lancaster and Marion counties. In 2019, for the fifth consecutive year, U.S. News & World Report named MUSC Health the No. 1 hospital in South Carolina. To learn more about clinical patient services, visit muschealth.org.

MUSC and its affiliates have collective annual budgets of $3.2 billion. The more than 17,000 MUSC team members include world-class faculty, physicians, specialty providers and scientists who deliver groundbreaking education, research, technology and patient care.