Biomeds from hospitals in Rhode Island and Connecticut and their guests came together Dec. 14, 2002, to usher in the holiday season at the “Biomed Christmas Event.”

 Event organizer Tom Citak set up this History of Medical Service display.

The function, held at the Crowne Plaza Hotel at the Crossings in Warwick, R.I., featured guest speaker Tom Magliocchetti, a co-founder and president of American Medical Resources Foundation (AMRF) and a vice president at Rhode Island Hospital; special guest Roger DeBaise, biomedical and safety systems specialist at Gaylord Hospital, Wallingford, Conn., and president of the New England Society of Clinical Engineering (NESCE); and door prizes and product literature from several vendors who helped underwrite the evening. A cocktail hour kicked off the festivities, followed by a buffet dinner and dessert. Tom Citak, manager of the clinical engineering department at St. Joseph Health Services-Fatima Hospital, North Providence, R.I., coordinated the event.

 (L to R) Tom Citak, manager, clinical engineering, St. Joseph’s Health Services-Fatima Hospital; Roger DeBaise, president, NESCE; and Tom Magliocchetti, president, AMRF, talk shop.

Magliocchetti’s presentation included a “travelogue” slide show illustrating some of the work the nonprofit AMRF has done in countries such as India — including work with Mother Teresa — Ethiopia and others.

 Vendor representatives gather for a photo: (front) Sue Persechino, Mallinckrodt/Nellcor; and Jennings Quigley, Richardson Electronics; (back, l-r) Doug Graham, Select Medical Sales/Maine; David Lapenat, Trans World Medical; Michael Rush, Spectra-Link; and Rick Marfori, GE Medical.

At the AMRF warehouse in Brockton, Mass., volunteer biomedical equipment technicians help refurbish used, but functional medical equipment donated from area hospitals that other volunteers then pack and prepare for shipping. All pieces are shipped with corresponding repair manuals. AMRF volunteers also conduct train-the-trainer programs so that a country’s own hospital personnel can maintain, repair and calibrate the equipment on-site. While all equipment is donated, the country receiving the gift is responsible for shipping costs, which average $20,000 per shipment, Magliocchetti said.

Gems adds to MRI line with USA Instruments buy
GE Medical Systems (GEMS of Waukesha, Wis.) in December 2002 acquired MRI surface coil developer and manufacturer USA Instruments Inc. (USAI of Aurora, Ohio).

Terms of the transaction were not disclosed.

GEMS President and CEO Joseph Hogan said the company’s need for multichannel MRI coils continues to grow rapidly with the introduction of GEMS’ 3.0 tesla (3T) and open MRI systems.

“MRI surface coils have become equally as strategic to the performance of an MRI system,” he said in a prepared statement.

What better place to explain a biomed’s job than in the hospital environment? And who better to show someone the ropes, so to speak, than biomeds themselves? And is there any better audience than a group of impressionable high-school students?

It’s no wonder, then, that David Scott, manager of the biomed department at The Children’s Hospital (Denver), and vice president of the Colorado Association of Biomedical Equipment Technicians (CABMET), participated in the hospital’s Career Day held Nov. 5, 2002.

Scott, a biomed for 13 years, is an employee of Hospital Shared Services (HSS of Denver).

A total of 49 students from seven area high schools visited The Children’s Hospital during the November Career Day, this one covering some of healthcare’s more “technical” fields — respiratory, physical and speech therapy, for example, biomed and others. The event, which began at 8:30 a.m. and drew to a close at about 2:15 p.m., featured a guest speaker, a tour of several hospital departments, an address from a critical-care physician, visits to “hands-on stations,” and more.

JW Global depot repair expands
JW Global (Livermore, Calif.) depot repair service recently expanded both its facility and service capabilities.

 Employees repair power supplies at JW Global, which recently doubled its shop area to 2,250 square feet.

The company, which specializes in industrial power supply repair, now has 2,250 square feet of shop space — double that of its previous shop area. Best known for its work repairing power supplies from various manufacturers and high-tech legacy equipment, the company also offers repair services for power supplies for ultrasound equipment, CT scanners, nenonatal monitoring systems, patient monitoring systems and biomedical equipment.

The company says its accepts power supplies from 200 watts to 10,000 watts for repair and completes repairs at less than the industry standard of 30 days. It also offers repairs on a prearranged flat-rate basis, which enables institutions to know in advance the price of their equipment repair and aids in budget forecasting.

NovaMed signs with GPO MHA
NovaMed Corp. (Trumbull, Conn.) has signed an agreement with Managed Health Care Associates Inc. (MHA of Florham Park, N.J.) to provide multivendor service management and on-site equipment maintenance and repair services for MHA members. MHA, a privately held group purchasing organization (GPO), offers services to 350 home infusion, home healthcare, acute care, laboratory and alternate site locations throughout the United States.

“We look forward to this partnership with MHA as an opportunity to provide our full spectrum of services to their entire network of facilities nationwide,” NovaMed President David Reihl said in a prepared statement. “Our joint goal is to enhance their level of service while reducing cost for the network. This contract is an important part of NovaMed’s business initiative to expand our contract base in the Mid-Atlantic region.”

General Electric offers $2 billion for Instrumentarium
General Electric Co. (Fairfield, Conn.) last month opened the vault to offer $2 billion to acquire medical technology firm Instrumentarium Corp. (Helsinki).

The companies on Dec. 18, 2002, announced the definitive agreement to make Instrumentarium — which specializes in anesthesiology, critical care, monitors and mammography products — part of GE Medical Systems (GEMS of Waukesha, Wis.).

GE is offering approximately $41 (or 40 Euros) per share in cash to buy all outstanding Instrumentarium shares.

The offer represents a 47 percent premium to Instrumentarium’s closing share price on Dec. 17, 2002.

GE’s tender offer was expected to commence within 30 days. The transaction is expected to close in 2003, pending shareholder and regulatory approvals and other customary conditions.

Sonora Medical moves into aftermarket MRI service
Sonora Medical Systems Inc. (Longmont, Colo.) announced at RSNA in November 2002 that it is moving into aftermarket services and training for magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) service providers and for hospital-based biomedical engineers and original equipment manufacturer (OEM) service departments. Currently, the company provides such services as MRI subsystem depot-level repair, spare board and component-level repair and replacement, and scanner maintenance training services.

“The addition of MRI service to our growing portfolio of ultrasound repair and refurbishment offerings reflects Sonora’s continued commitment to driving cost out of the healthcare system,” President and CEO G. Wayne Moore said in a prepared statement. “Sonora has established itself as a valuable resource to medical imaging OEMs, independent service providers and the biomedical engineering community, and will look to further enhance our support of clinics and hospitals as we solidify our MRI service operations and expand into other imaging modalities in the future.”

Karl Storz Endoscopy-America Inc. (Culver City, Calif.) and Cbyon Inc. (Mountain View, Calif.) have crafted an alliance to develop an interface between the Karl Storz Communication Bus (SCB) and the Cbyon Suite, fully integrating Cbyon image guided technologies into the OR1 platform.

The OR1 provides centralized control of operating room components, including overhead mounting systems, surgical lights, operating room tables, endoscopic equipment, cameras, video systems and documentation systems.

Varian Medical expands X-ray tube business
Varian Medical Systems Inc. (Palo Alto, Calif.) is bolstering its medical X-ray tube business on two international fronts.

On Dec. 2, 2002, Varian announced its acquisition of medical X-ray tube reloader and distributor MRW GmbH (Dusseldorf, Germany) to grow its market presence in Europe.

That same day, Varian unveiled an agreement with Toshiba Corp., Medical Systems Co. (Tochigi, Japan) and Sanko Medical Systems (Tokyo) to operate a Varian-authorized X-ray tube service center in the People’s Republic of China.

MRW will become part of Varian’s X-ray Products business (Salt Lake City) and will assemble replacement tubes in Dusseldorf from components produced at Varian’s Salt Lake City manufacturing facility.

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