News & stories, Transforming MRI Service Access for Horizon patients through Philanthropy

April 2024

Transformational Saint John Regional Hospital Foundation Donation to Improve MRI Service Access for Horizon Patients

(Saint John, NB) – Horizon Health Network patients will soon have improved access to vital magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) services thanks to a $1 million gift to the Saint John Regional Hospital Foundation. The donation will be used to hire additional staff and streamline medical imaging requests, resulting in a 26 per cent increase in MRI services.

Provided by an anonymous donor with a vision to transform health care in New Brunswick, this generous gift will advance Horizon’s Critical Action Priorities, including improved access to services, patient experience, and recruitment and retention. As a result of the investment, Horizon will be able to conduct an additional 4,000 MRI exams annually, and the number of MRI technologists working within the health authority will increase by 20 per cent.

To ensure it has the greatest possible impact, the donation will be used to:

  • Hire four full-time technologists so every MRI system in the Saint John, Moncton, Fredericton and Miramichi regions can operate seven days a week, 12 hours a day;
  • Provide MRI training to an additional eight employees in return for three-year employment service agreements; and
  • Purchase a requisition management solution system to centralize and sort all medical imaging requests, helping to guide patients to the location with the lowest wait time.

“We are overjoyed to receive this transformational gift from an incredibly generous anonymous donor,” said Shannon Hunter, Foundation President & CEO. “This individual came to us with a vision of advancing patient care and innovation in medical imaging, following a personal experience that inspired interest in this area of health care. By working closely with the team at Horizon, we are pleased to share a plan that aligns with Horizon’s key focus on recruitment and retention. This investment will lead to reduced wait times for MRI services and better health outcomes for New Brunswickers across the province.”

“Enhancing access to medical imaging services is a key factor in executing our vision for improved health care for all New Brunswickers, and we are grateful for the donor and the Saint John Regional Hospital Foundation for the benefits this gift will bring to our staff, physicians and our patients,” said Margaret Melanson, Horizon’s President and CEO. “This investment will help us reach the target of providing elective MRI service within 60 days within the next two years — a benchmark recommended by the Canadian Association of Radiologists.”

As of January 2024, more than 8,200 Horizon patients were waiting to access these services, with average wait times of 238 days. Thanks to this investment, it’s anticipated that average wait times will be reduced by approximately 75% per cent by 2026.

Hunter said that, in addition to addressing challenges such as staffing shortages, which are impacting access to medical imaging services, a number of other positive results are anticipated due to this donation, including earlier detection, fewer follow-up tests and improved patient outcomes.

“This is a testament to how donor generosity can transform health care,” Hunter said. “As we’ve learned over the course of the last few years, solutions to the extraordinary challenges we are facing in health care won’t come solely from one government, one person or one idea, but from many individuals and organizations working collectively toward the betterment of our health care system.”

Horizon will begin the process of hiring and training staff and purchasing the requisition management solution system over the coming weeks.

About the Saint John Regional Hospital Foundation

Since 1984, the Saint John Regional Hospital Foundation has been dedicated to inspiring donor generosity, enabling and recognizing community support in advancing patient care. Our community has helped raise over $150 million, funding new technologies, capital projects, innovation, medical research and professional education in all health care areas, improving the health of New Brunswickers.

For more information, please contact:

Sarah Peiser
Director of Communnications
Saint John Regional Hospital Foundation | 506.607.4897

About Horizon Health Network

With an annual budget of $1.4 billion, 14,000 staff, 1,242 physicians, many volunteers, 17 foundations and 16 auxiliary and alumnae organizations, Horizon Health Network (Horizon) is the largest regional health authority in New Brunswick and the second largest in Atlantic Canada. Committed to delivering quality and safe care in English and French to patients, clients and their families, Horizon operates 12 hospitals and more than 100 medical facilities, clinics, and offices throughout New Brunswick. With a collaborative team approach to offering services, Horizon delivers health care services to residents of New Brunswick, as well as northern Nova Scotia and Prince Edward Island. Horizon is dedicated to educating the health care leaders of tomorrow by training physicians, nurses and other health care professionals and is home to the Dalhousie Medicine New Brunswick and Memorial University’s clerkship programs. Other collaborative education programs include the Canadian Pharmacy Residency Board-accredited Horizon Pharmacy Residency Program, the Clinical Psychology Residency Program, The Moncton Hospital Post Graduate Dietetic Internship Program, and the Horizon School of Radiologic Technology (Saint John and Moncton).[RG(1] [RG(2]

For more information, please contact:

Media Relations
Horizon Health Network

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