Feature | January 14, 2009

Web Exclusive: Cutting Costs, Not Care

Siemens lends a 'healthcare hand' to children through online DR system auction.

By Cristen C. Bolan

In these difficult financial times, healthcare facilities are looking for ways to cut costs without having to cut corners on patient care. As a result, access to the most up-to-date medical imaging technology and quality patient care has been especially challenging for the under-served pediatric population and their families in both rural and urban settings.

This past holiday season, Siemens Medical Solutions USA donated a new Ysio digital radiography (DR) system to the Children’s Health Fund (CHF) for an online auction. All proceeds will benefit CHF, whose mission is to provide healthcare to the most medically underserved children and their families through innovative primary care programs, response to public health crises and promotion of guaranteed access.

At the auction site, CHF allowed hospitals to bid online for the DR system, offering one lucky hospital and its community the new DR solution that features a wireless detector and that can be used for several clinical applications.

Imaging Technology News (ITN) spoke with Claus Grill, VP, Angiography, X-ray and Fluoroscopy, Siemens Medical Solutions USA Inc., about Siemens’ objectives and how the outcome of the auction may impact the children’s healthcare.

ITN: While the list price for the Ysio can run up to $450,000, bidding for the system started at $99,999. But what was the final bid on the DR system?

Claus Grill: The final bid was $285,309, all of which will benefit the Children's Health Fund and their mission to provide healthcare for homeless and medically disadvantaged children. This is nearly 36 percent of the more than $1 million Siemens donated to organizations and charities over the holiday season, through programs, such as the auction, volunteer opportunities, employee contributions and matching company donations.

ITN: What was the impetus for Siemens to launch the campaign to raise money for CHF?

CG: The launch of the Ysio digital radiography system served as the platform for Siemens to explore new ways of giving back to the community during this holiday season. In a time when healthcare and other economic issues are weighing heavily on everyone’s minds, Siemens is dedicated to facilitating access to the most up-to-date medical imaging technology, as well as providing quality patient care to everyone, despite their financial situation. Supporting CHF’s mission extends our reach, and that of our customers, such as the auction winner, John T. Mather Memorial Hospital in Port Jefferson, NY, to help those who find these times especially challenging – the under-served pediatric population and their families in both rural and urban settings.

ITN: How has the difficult financial situation affected the ability for healthcare facilities to acquire imaging equipment like a DR system?

CG: Like many businesses and non-profit organizations operating in today’s difficult economic times, healthcare providers are experiencing budget restrictions that impact their ability to purchase capital equipment, such as DR systems. The auction enabled the winning institution to obtain a new Ysio system for a reduced price, while benefiting the needs of underserved children through the work of CHF.

ITN: Will Siemens sponsor similar charity events in the future, and if so, can you give me an example of what they will involve?

CG: Siemens has supported similar events in the past and will continue to explore opportunities in the future.

For more information: www.childrenshealthfund.org, www.ysioauction.com and www.siemens.com/healthcare

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