The Birmingham VA Medical Center serves a large primary care population of veterans from central Alabama with emphasis on common diseases, often at an advanced stage, and is also a regional referral center for veterans from Alabama and parts of Georgia and Florida requiring complex or subspecialty care. There are 6 full-time and two part-time radiology faculty including subspecialty-trained radiologists in Vascular and Interventional, Neuro-imaging, Abdominal imaging, and Musculoskeletal imaging. 5-6 residents rotate at the VA at any given time in a “team practice” environment.
The Department of Radiology is a modern, completely digital department. New PACS software and hardware and ergonomic reading room redesign throughout the department in 2006 and upgraded voice recognition system in 2009 have dramatically improved the work environment and increased radiologist productivity. In 2015 the BVAMC radiology department performed and interpreted about 78,000 exams for over 50,000 RVUs representing a mixture of fairly routine imaging and very complex cases such as microwave ablations, chemo-embolizations, TIPS's, kyphoplasties, CT and MR angiograms, CT coronary angiography, CT colonography, and large numbers of biopsies and vascular interventions. Imaging volume and complexity have both increased at about 4-5% per year.
The main department general radiology section is housed on the second floor in the wing facing towards University Avenue adjacent to the Nuclear Medicine department and serves our veterans' general imaging needs with a Siemens all digital R&F room that was installed in 2005 and two Philips EasyDiagnost Eleva digital radiography/fluoroscopy rooms installed in 2010, upgraded in 2015. The main department also houses a Siemens digital dedicated chest room. General radiology rooms in the main department and emergency room are GE Definium 8000 digital radiographic units with tomosynthesis, image stitching, and dual energy capability, new in 2008, 2009, and 2011. A fleet of all digital/DR portable radiography units (some GE and some Carestream) serves the ER, OR, and critically ill inpatients.
High end imaging equipment includes a Siemens Definition dual-source cardiac capable CT scanner, a GE HD 750 dual energy Gemstone 64 slice CT scanner with cardiac and perfusion capabilities; a GE LX 1.5T and Siemens 1.5T Espree MRI Scanners are located in an adjacent newly renovated MRI suite. A newly renovated ultrasound area sports four scanning rooms with two Philips EPIQ 7s, two Siemens Sequoias, and Zonare convertible Ultrasound machines. The vascular and interventional area utilizes a Siemens digital Angio suite that was installed in 2005. A second minor procedure room and C-arm became operational October, 2010. A GE 64 slice PET-CT is located in a dedicated PET area on the ground floor and jointly operated with the VA Nuclear Medicine department since December 2008.
A TeraRecon distributed 3D visualization server installed in 2007 and updated in 2011 provides state of the art 3-D visualization and automated image analysis throughout the facility. Dynacad Server is available for advanced MRI perfusion analysis and the department has just implemented a DoseWatch dose tracking system.
For more information, please visit the Birmingham VA Medical Center. 1/4/16