About YRMC

  • YRMC’s Family Birthing Center Earns Level II Nursery Certification

    by Community Outreach and Philanthropy, (928) 771-5686, released February 11, 2013 | Dec 27, 2013

    High Risk Newborns and their Families Stay in the Community

    Yavapai Regional Medical Center’s (YRMC’s) Family Birthing Center is now certified by the Arizona Perinatal Trust (APT) to care for high-risk newborns and their mothers.

    “This is a milestone for our community,” said Diane Drexler, RN, YRMC’s Chief Nursing Officer. “It means many babies born early will no longer be transported to other Arizona communities. They will stay with their moms and receive high-level care right here.”

    YRMC’s Family Birthing Center—licensed as a Level II Continuing Care Nursery by the Arizona Department of Health Services—is now delivering and caring for babies born at 34 weeks or greater. By January 2014, babies born 32 weeks or greater will be delivered and cared for at the YRMC Family Birthing Center.

    Normal gestation is 38 to 40 weeks. According to the March of Dimes, approximately 12,000 babies a year are born prematurely in Arizona.

    “Receiving and maintaining certification for the Family Birthing Center through the APT demonstrates that YRMC is committed to providing safe, efficient and effective patient care,” said Connie Buckner, RN, Director, The Family Birthing Center at YRMC.

    APT certification brings together Level II Continuing Care Nurseries like YRMC’s to:

    • maintain certain standards of care for mothers and babies;
    • participate in statewide efforts to benchmark perinatal units; and
    • work collaboratively with Arizona’s regionalized perinatal healthcare system.

    The Family Birthing Center at YRMC East in Prescott Valley was designed and constructed from the beginning to care for premature infants. The Center, which opened May 26, 2010, followed Arizona Department of Health Services requirements that specify, for example, the amount of space between each baby in the nursery.

    After its opening, YRMC’s Family Birthing Center nurses, obstetricians and pediatricians immediately began working together to achieve Level II Perinatal certification. The Center’s registered nurses were cross trained on all aspects of neonatal care, including, for example, how to provide supplemental oxygen, prevent infections, administer medications and manage feeding tubes.

    Additionally, the nurses participated in a rigorous series of classroom courses conducted by YRMC’s neonatal nurse practitioner. The Center’s nurses and YRMC respiratory therapists also pursued on-site training in the neonatal unit of another hospital.

    “The Family Birthing Center’s staff has been working toward this for a long time. Our first high-risk delivery since the new certification went very well,” Drexler said. “Our team was ecstatic. The newborn did great and so did the baby’s mother. Our entire hospital is proud of this achievement. It’s so important to families in our community.”

  • YRMC Caregivers Learn Crucial Skills in Simulator Lab

    by Community Outreach and Philanthropy, (928) 771-5686, releasted February 14, 2013 | Dec 27, 2013

    State of Arizona Grant Supports Stroke Education at YRMC

    Early recognition and rapid response to stroke are the goals of a clinician training program sponsored by Yavapai Regional Medical Center (YRMC). Nearly 270 YRMC registered nurses as well as occupational, physical, respiratory and speech therapists participated in the SimSuite Stroke Simulation Training Program January 7-18. The program featured a wireless patient simulator called the Laerdal SimMan® that replicated possible scenarios associated with stroke in a lab setting as well as classroom-setting workshops.

    “Stroke symptoms can be very subtle,” said Diane Drexler, RN, YRMC Chief Nursing Officer. “Because of the SimSuite training, YRMC’s clinicians are more acutely aware of the signs and symptoms of stroke. With this training, they can intervene earlier, which will save lives and help limit disability due to stroke.”

    In the simulation laboratory, YRMC clinicians worked in teams of approximately six on a series of scenarios. This experience allowed caregivers to practice identifying and treating stroke patients as well as patients with signs and symptoms that mimic stroke. In addition to the simulation laboratory, the SimSuite training included a learning module with a pre-and post-test. The program’s curriculum is based on the American Heart Association/American Stroke Association “Get With the Guidelines Program: Target Stroke.”

    “This is a very effective way of learning in healthcare,” said Drexler. “Every patient is different and the classroom learning combined with the hands-on experience in the lab builds the critical thinking skills necessary to care effectively for patients.”

    YRMC occupational, physical, speech and respiratory therapists also learned advanced stroke rehabilitation techniques as part of the training. The therapists participated in two-day, hands-on seminars, which took place in December 2012 and January 2013.

    Ellen Benson, YRMC’s Director of Education and Organizational Development, said the training allowed YRMC to increase the skills of its caregivers and improve healthcare for the community. “By training so many clinicians at the same time, we ensure continuity of care,” she said.

    The SimSuite Stroke Simulation Training Program was funded in part by an Arizona Job Training Program Grant from the Arizona Commerce Authority. The grant supports Arizona employers seeking to increase the skills of their employees.

    According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, one American dies from stroke every four minutes. Each year, more than 795,000 people in the U.S. suffer strokes.

  • BreastCare Center at YRMC Home to Arizona’s First MRI Designed Exclusively for Breast Imaging

    by Community Outreach and Philanthropy, (928) 771-5686, released April 1, 2013 | Dec 27, 2013

    On April 8, The BreastCare Center at YRMC introduces Arizona’s only breast Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) system designed specifically for breast imaging.

    “For a community to have this technology within 100 miles is very fortunate,” said Michael D’Angelo, MD, Medical Director, Imaging Services at YRMC. “For a community to have this technology within five or even 25 miles is phenomenal.”

    Currently, there are fewer than 50 breast MRI systems in the U.S., all of which are designed by Aurora Imaging Technology, Inc. Most hospitals and imaging centers conduct breast MRI studies by modifying conventional, full-body MRIs. The new system at YRMC’s BreastCare Center was designed solely to study the breast. Every aspect of the Aurora® Breast MRI System—from its outstanding imaging capabilities to the design of the patient table—was conceived exclusively for breast imaging.

    Physicians often request an MRI in order to further evaluate areas of concern detected during a woman’s screening mammogram, ultrasound or physical exam. Compared to the more widely available conventional breast MRI, the system at YRMC’s BreastCare Center will offer:

    • dramatically superior and precise images;
    • speedier results;
    • reduced individual imaging times; and
    • greater patient comfort.

    “This breast MRI is the only commercially available, Food and Drug Administration cleared MRI system that is designed just for three-dimensional, bi-lateral breast imaging,” said Mary Sterling, YRMC’s Director of Imaging Services. “The BreastCare Center at YRMC is so pleased to offer this important service to the women of our community.” Perhaps most significant to women and their families will be the daily availability of this powerful breast MRI system. To accommodate this important equipment and service, a new space specially designed for the breast MRI system was constructed at The BreastCare Center at YRMC.

    “Because the exam suite is built exclusively for breast MRI, the experience also will be quieter and more relaxed for patients,” Sterling said.

    The breast MRI system joins a comprehensive menu of diagnostic and clinical services available through The BreastCare Center at YRMC, including:

    • Digital Mammography;
    • Breast Ultrasound;
    • Ultrasound Guided Breast Biopsy;
    • Stereotactic Breast Biopsy;
    • Pre-Surgical Needle Localization; and
    • MRI-Guided Biopsies.

    “The breast MRI technology is consistent with YRMC’s community-focused Mission of caring and healing,” said Dr. D’Angelo. “Thanks to a local, anonymous donor, women throughout our community soon will be able to access this incredible service without leaving the area.”

  • YRMC Recognized for Electronic Medical Record Performance

    by Community Outreach and Philanthropy, (928) 771-5686, released December 2, 2013 | Dec 16, 2013

    HIMSS Analytics (Health Information Management Systems Society) has announced that Yavapai Regional Medical Center (YRMC) has achieved Stage 6 on their Electronic Medical Record Adoption Model (EMRAM).

    HIMSS Analytics developed EMRAM in 2005 as a methodology for evaluating the progress and impact of electronic medical record systems (EMR) for hospitals in the HIMSS Analytics database. Tracking their progress in completing each stage, hospitals can review the implementation and utilization of information technology applications with the intent of reaching Stage 7, which represents an advanced electronic patient record environment.

    As of October, 2013, only 12% of the more than 5,400 hospitals tracked by HIMSS Analytics have reached Stage 6. YRMC is one of only 643 hospitals that have achieved this level of performance.

    “It’s really an honor for YRMC and our community to be recognized by one of the premier advocates of Healthcare Information Technology for our ongoing commitment to electronic medical records. This is an important milestone in our journey to meet performance criteria required by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) relating to EMR use,” states Martin de Kort, MD, Chief Medical Information Officer for Yavapai Regional Medical Center.

    YRMC has utilized EMR technology in different capacities for several years but made the commitment in 2012 to fully integrate over 55 solutions to create one of the most comprehensive EMR systems in the nation. Today, YRMC is one of a select group of hospitals who have replaced paper charting with faster, more reliable and safer electronic charting.

    “Stage 6 recognition means that we have demonstrated an ability to use our EMR as a clinical decision tool to enhance patient care and to maintain the highest levels of safety for our patients,” said de Kort.

    Stage 6 hospitals have achieved a significant advancement in their Information Technology capabilities that positions them to successfully address current healthcare transformations, such as meaningful use criteria in the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, claims attachments for the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act, pay for performance, and government quality reporting programs.

    “Our adoption of EMR technology is really a testament to the amazing team we have at YRMC,” states John Amos, YRMC President and CEO. “We have a great group of people who made the commitment to complete one of the largest EMR installations in the country. All of our clinical workflows were redesigned to support electronic charting and our medical staff adoption has set an example for others to follow. It’s an honor for me to work with this talented group of people.”

  • John Amos begins his role as YRMC's President and CEO

    by Community Outreach and Philanthropy, (928) 771-5686, released November 12, 2013 | Dec 16, 2013

    On October 1, 2013, John Amos began his role as YRMC’s new President and CEO. Clifford J. Morgan, MD, FACS, Chairman of the YRMC Board of Trustees, states, “We are exceedingly proud to have John in this role. The Board devoted two years to studying the qualities, characteristics and experience required of a top-quality healthcare system President and CEO. When we matched those variables with John’s background, his extensive screening performance and what we have observed while he served as East Campus COO, it was clear that he was the best candidate. The Board looks forward to an energy-filled and exciting future with John at the helm.”

    John began his career at YRMC in 1992 as Director of Physical Rehabilitation Services. His background in occupational therapy and other clinical capacities has given him a wide range of experience working within a clinical scope. He was integral in creating the East Campus hospital in Prescott Valley from the ground up. In this endeavor he demonstrated his extensive skill in managing extraordinary change, while also showing respect for each person with whom he worked.

    Dr. Morgan continued by saying, “John’s integrity and commitment to transparency will serve him and YRMC very well as we encounter unprecedented change in healthcare in the next few years. John’s values and his collaborative nature will create the foundation for a very successful future for YRMC. Yes, change is and will be paramount for YRMC and for the healthcare industry in general. We believe John has the courage and the clarity of vision to skillfully guide our organization to provide top quality, compassionate healthcare for our communities.”

    Mr. Amos states, “Although this particular role is new for me, I have had the opportunity and the pleasure to establish, grow and develop the East Campus while also maintaining responsibilities on the West Campus. This unique experience of creating a brand new hospital, recruiting and developing staff, and establishing YRMC East as a new community resource was very gratifying. It also gave me many opportunities to develop good relationships throughout our region.”

    John completed his undergraduate degree at Colorado State University in Fort Collins, Colorado. He then earned a master’s degree in Business from Northern Arizona University. John’s extensive professional experience includes working for a national physical therapy company, but his heart was always connected to YRMC.

    John’s 21 years at YRMC has enabled him to get to know the organization and our communities very well. He and his family love the greater Prescott area and look forward to continuing their wonderful relationship with those in our community for many years to come.

  • YRMC’s Volunteers “Make A Difference” In October and Beyond

    by Community Outreach and Philanthropy, (928) 771-5686, released September 23, 2013 | Oct 01, 2013

    Hospital Recruits Volunteers As Part of International Celebration of Volunteers

    Bob enjoys the fast-paced environment of the Emergency Department at Yavapai Regional Medical Center (YRMC).

    Linda likes the smiles she brings to patients’ faces when she visits their hospital rooms with her yellow Labrador, Hunter as part of the hospital’s Pets Are Warm Support (PAWS) program.

    Marie puts her retail knowledge to work in YRMC’s Gift Shop while Ellen’s strong organizational skills are valued in departments throughout the hospital.

    More than 800 Quad Cities’ residents volunteer at YRMC. Like Bob, Linda, Marie and Ellen, their roles complement their individual talents and interests. They’re also essential to supporting YRMC’s total healing environment as well as the hospital’s team of healthcare professionals.

    In October, YRMC begins an ongoing volunteer recruitment effort. The recruitment coincides with Make A Difference Day, a world-wide day of community service that takes place the fourth Saturday of October (Oct. 26, 2013). Make A Difference Day celebrates the power of people to make a difference by volunteering to improve the lives of others.

    “Every day is Make A Difference Day for YRMC’s volunteers,” said Lynnel Walters, YRMC’s Volunteer Services Director. “Our volunteers come to YRMC from many backgrounds but all with the same desire to give back to the community by volunteering at the hospital.”

    YRMC's Volunteers by Gender

    YRMC’s volunteer force ranges in age from 15 to 93. It runs the gamut from young people aspiring to careers in healthcare to retired law enforcement officers and local business professionals. The YRMC volunteer team even includes a former ballerina and a retired flight surgeon.

    “YRMC’s volunteers are the most amazing, interesting and diverse group of people you’ll ever want to meet,” Walters said. “We’re seeing more men become involved in volunteering. What all of our volunteers have in common is a desire to help others.”

    YRMC volunteers serve in many hospital areas and take on diverse roles, including:

    • Administrative Support
    • Art Therapy
    • Emergency Department
    • Gift Shop
    • Information (Front Desk and other YRMC Reception Areas)
    • Humor Therapy
    • Music Therapy
    • Patient Care Areas (Patient Ambassadors)
    • PAWS
    • Transportation (YRMC’s parking lots)
    • Individualized Volunteer Experiences

    From food to fitness, YRMC’s volunteers receive numerous benefits for their service, including:

    • meals in the YRMC Cafeteria on volunteer days;
    • a Gift Shop as well as a Pharmacy discount;
    • annual health assessment;
    • discounted rate for the Wellness Center at the YRMC Pendleton Center; and
    • invitations to several Volunteer Services recognition events throughout the year.

    Before joining YRMC, volunteers meet with the Volunteer Office staff to discuss their volunteer goals and interests. Once on board, volunteers participate in a hospital-wide orientation.

    For more information about volunteering at YRMC, contact Lynnel Walters at (928) 771-5678.

  • YRMC Board Announces Tim Barnett’s Retirement

    by Community Outreach and Philanthropy, (928) 771-5686, released August 6, 2013 | Aug 30, 2013

    The Chairman of the Yavapai Regional Medical Center (YRMC) Board of Trustees, Clifford Morgan, MD, FACS, announced today that YRMC President and CEO, Tim Barnett, will be retiring effective October 1, 2013, following 20 years of distinguished service. Dr. Morgan stated, “Tim has done an exemplary job of leading YRMC through a myriad of organizational changes, challenges and growth. He is to be congratulated for his outstanding career.” Dr. Morgan continued by saying, “We wish Tim and his family all the best as he embarks on this new chapter in his life. We also warmly welcome and look forward to working with the next President and CEO, John Amos, who will assume his role on October 1.”

    Since one of its primary responsibilities is hiring and evaluating the President and CEO, the YRMC Board of Trustees has always had a sharp focus on succession planning. Recognizing that retirement would eventually become reality for Mr. Barnett, two years ago the Board wisely began developing a detailed executive search, selection and transition process that would result in a smooth and seamless transition. Deeply cognizant of the rapidly changing healthcare environment on the local, state and national levels, the Board engaged two outside consulting firms specializing in executive search and also in succession and transition planning.

    The first steps included identifying and prioritizing the qualifications, criteria, characteristics, qualities and values required of the next CEO. The comprehensive analysis involved nationally benchmarked data, industry qualifications and feedback. All these criteria were clearly defined from the beginning. The Board thoroughly considered YRMC’s organizational Vision and Values and recognized the next CEO would be required to appreciate and preserve these keystones in YRMC’s culture. The Board worked tirelessly to create a template for the ideal CEO candidate. They studied all the issues carefully, always mindful of what would be best for YRMC and the patients it serves.

    Following a very thorough, time-tested screening process, it was found that one candidate met the benchmarked CEO profile and also performed exceptionally well in a variety of skill/aptitude tests specific to CEO candidates. John Amos excelled in rigorous Board interviews and was selected as the new President and CEO. Mr. Amos has more than 19 years of healthcare leadership experience and eight years of senior level administrative experience at YRMC. He holds a Bachelor’s degree in Occupational Therapy and a Master of Science degree in Business. He and his family have lived in Prescott since 1992 and are committed to the community.

    Mr. Amos was responsible for developing YRMC’s strategic plan so the direction of the organization will continue forward smoothly and without interruption, ensuring the momentum YRMC has underway in all areas will proceed seamlessly. YRMC’s entire senior leadership team consists of seasoned, highly-qualified professionals who will continue to serve the best interests of YRMC and its patients.

  • The Science of Sound: YRMC Introduces BAHA Implants

    by Community Outreach and Philanthropy, (928) 771-5686, released August 6, 2013 | Aug 30, 2013

    Two Quad Cities’ residents—a 16 year old and an 84 year old—were the first to undergo bone anchored hearing aid (BAHA) implants when the surgery was introduced recently at Yavapai Regional Medical Center (YRMC). “Single sided deafness, or S-S-D, affects people of all ages,” said Derek K. Hewitt, MD, MPH, Ear, Nose and Throat Surgeon at YRMC. “This kind of deafness doesn’t respond well to hearing aids, which are designed to amplify sound.”

    Dr. Hewett displays the tools used by BAHA implantsYRMC—the only hospital in western Yavapai County to offer BAHA implants—worked with Dr. Hewitt and Mark Strasser, MD, to prepare for the procedure’s introduction. BAHA implants have successfully restored hearing to people with SSD for decades.

    “Now that this procedure is available in our community, people can work with a local physician, undergo the procedure at YRMC and remain close to home for follow-up care,” said Jeannie Dew, RN, Director of Surgical Services, YRMC West in Prescott.

    BAHA implants tap the body’s natural capacity to conduct sound. While conventional hearing aids amplify sound, the BAHA implant bypasses portions of the ear to send sound through the skull to the cochlea (inner ear) of the person’s normal hearing ear. The tiny hair cells inside the cochlea then change the sound vibrations into electrical impulses, which travel to the brain and allow the BAHA recipient to experience sound.

    “The BAHA allows people to re-gain 360-degree sound awareness,” said Dew. “It’s like going from mono to stereo for people.”

    During the approximately 30-minute procedure, Dr. Hewitt implants a titanium prosthesis with a small “abutment” into the patient’s skull, behind the ear. The abutment—which is just visible outside the skin—is covered with a healing cap that is removed a week after the surgery.

    As required by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), Dr. Hewitt waits three months after the procedure to place and activate the sound processor. The sound processor is snapped onto the abutment and transmits sound vibrations through the titanium abutment, then through the skull to the patient’s normal hearing ear. This allows the person to hear.

    “It’s a great thing for these people to hear again,” Dr. Hewitt said.

  • Sound Management and Performance Lead to Upgraded Bond Rating and Savings for Yavapai Regional Medical Center

    by Community Outreach and Philanthropy, (928) 771-5686, released July 23, 2013 | Aug 30, 2013

    Moody’s Investor Service has upgraded Yavapai Regional Medical Center’s (YRMC’s) investment grade bond rating to Baa1 from Baa2. YRMC’s performance outlook is stable.

    YRMC’s Baa1 rating is based on strong performance metrics that include:

    • A strong market share of 75%;
    • Good volume growth with combined inpatient admissions and observation stays up 5.6% in the three years through December 31, 2012;
    • Strong and consistent operating performance and cash flow margin; and
    • Minimal indirect debt.

    The stable performance outlook reflects Moody’s assessment that YRMC will continue to produce strong operating results.

    “At a time when credit downgrades are more common than upgrades, it’s reassuring to know that YRMC is standing on solid financial ground,” states Tim Barnett, President and Chief Executive Officer, Yavapai Regional Medical Center. “Our strong bond rating is a reflection of the excellent relationship YRMC has with the communities we serve.”

    Healthy Rating Leads to Bond Refinancing

    Following the positive financial news from Moody’s, YRMC was able to refinance bonds that were issued in 2003 to pay for major healthcare expansion projects, including the construction of YRMC East in Prescott Valley. By refinancing these long-term bonds, YRMC will realize a significant savings of $6.3 million over the next 20 years.

    “The lower interest rates today compared to when the original bonds were issues in 2003 made it very attractive to refinance,” states Brian Hoefle, Chief Financial Officer, Yavapai Regional Medical Center. “With all of the changes in healthcare today, we always go the extra mile to find ways to reduce our expenditures so that we can add new healing services for the community. Refinancing the bonds is just another example of YRMC’s commitment to provide affordable, high-quality healthcare to our region.”

  • Hyperbaric Oxygen Chambers Help Patients Heal Close to Home

    by Community Outreach and Philanthropy, (928) 771-5686, released June 24, 2013 | Aug 30, 2013

    YRMC Launches Northern Arizona’s First Hyperbaric Medicine Program

    The Advanced Wound Care Center at Yavapai Regional Medical Center (YRMC) recently launched Northern Arizona’s first Hyperbaric Medicine program.

    “The purpose of hyperbaric oxygen therapy is to repair and rebuild,” said YRMC’s Greg Mann, MS, CHT, Director, Advanced Wound Care and Hyperbaric Medicine.

    YRMC’s two new hyperbaric chambers—the core of the Hyperbaric Medicine program—are already improving the lives of many area residents. Located in YRMC’s recently expanded Advanced Wound Care Center, 3262 N. Windsong Drive in Prescott Valley, the hyperbaric chambers allow Northern Arizona residents to stay close to home for treatments.

    “This is important because hyperbaric therapy can last two hours a day for up to six weeks,” Mann said.

    YRMC’s “monoplace” hyperbaric chambers are designed for one person. They’re pressurized with pure oxygen that the patient breathes directly. Hyperbaric oxygen therapy temporarily increases the amount of oxygen the blood can carry to injured tissue. This promotes healing and fights infection for a diverse list of conditions, including:

    • bone infections;
    • burns;
    • diabetic ulcers;
    • embolisms (blockages in the bloodstream);
    • non-healing wounds;
    • radiation tissue damage; and
    • other conditions.

    The tube-shaped hyperbaric chambers are 34 inches in diameter and 7-feet long. The chambers include clear acrylic which allows patients to see out during treatment sessions. During these sessions, patients are continuously monitored by YRMC’s nurses and therapists.

    “We’re very cognizant of both patient comfort and patient safety,” said Mann. “We talk about the importance of wearing 100 percent cotton clothing during hyperbaric therapy sessions. We teach patients how to clear their ears as the air pressure increases in the chamber. We do everything we can to prepare people for the therapy sessions and to reduce any anxiety.”

    Physicians involved with YRMC’s Hyperbaric Medicine program are certified in hyperbaric oxygen therapy by the Undersea and Hyperbaric Medical Society while nurses and therapists are certified by the National Board of Diving and Hyperbaric Medical Technology. Certification means these professionals have participated in comprehensive training that covers the physiology of hyperbaric therapy, its side effects, how to recognize patients who could benefit from hyperbaric therapy and more. Additionally, the Hyperbaric Medicine team collaborates with other YRMC healthcare professionals, emphasizing healthy habits that complement the healing therapy. For example, diabetes educators work with patients to discuss the importance of controlling blood sugar levels.

    “We look at the whole person, including his or her nutritional status and lifestyle habits,” Mann said. “Eating a healthy diet, getting regular exercise and not smoking, they’re all important to the healing process.”

    A physician’s order is required for outpatient hyperbaric oxygen therapy. For more information, contact Greg Mann at (928) 771-4788.

  • NASA Anti-Gravity Treadmill Allows Patients, Athletes and Fitness Enthusiasts to “Moonwalk” at YRMC

    by Community Outreach and Philanthropy, (928) 771-5686, released May 14, 2013 | Aug 30, 2013

    Whether you’re recovering from orthopedic surgery, undergoing therapy to reduce the side effects of Parkinson’s disease, or preparing to run a marathon, Yavapai Regional Medical Center’s (YRMC’s) AlterG Anti-Gravity Treadmill may be in your future.

    “The AlterG rehabilitation treadmill incorporates technology that was developed by NASA to help astronauts compensate for the effects of weightlessness in space,” said Rich Tenney, PT, DPT, PRC, Physical Therapist at YRMC.

    Like many NASA innovations, the AlterG has applications beyond its original purpose. In the medical setting, the AlterG has become a major part of rehabilitation for a variety of conditions. The Quad Cities’ only AlterG was introduced recently at YRMC’s Wellness Center at YRMC West, 930 Division Street in Prescott.

    AlterG NASA Anti-Gravity Treadmill

    “The Alter G can unload up to 80 percent of the patient’s body weight, simulating a gravity environment that is similar to walking on the moon’s surface,” Tenney said. “When you decrease the pull of gravity on the body, there’s less impact, tension and stress on the body’s joints and tissues when standing, walking or running. The AlterG offers our patients the opportunity to build muscle, increase their endurance and move without pain.”

    How does the AlterG work? It uses differential air pressure to unload up to 80 percent of an individual’s body weight in precise 1 percent increments. Before this process begins, the patient dons a pair of comfortable shorts—similar to bicycle shorts—over his or her clothing. Next, the patient steps into the treadmill’s air chamber where the shorts are zipped to the casing. This creates an air-tight seal. Air then fills the chamber as it unloads the designated percentage of the patient’s body weight.

    “The AlterG reduces the stress of weight on the body, similar to what we experience in pool therapy, but with less risk for infection,” Tenney said. “The AlterG also more closely matches the environment in which we live: air rather than water. I’ve seen a patient who had extreme difficulty walking with an assistive device, walking on her own—and without pain— while using the AlterG. It’s incredible.”

    The AlterG enhances rehab after sports-related injuries such as tendonitis, ACL repairs, and total joint replacements. It can be used to treat people with balance and movement dysfunction resulting from stroke, Parkinson’s disease, or other neurologic disorders. The AlterG can also be used to decrease the pressure on the spine following back surgery. This allows the patient to rehab and build core strength with less pain and discomfort.

    “For example, a patient may be able to walk or run on the AlterG without pain at 50 percent of their body weight,” said Tenney. “We work from this, gradually increasing the patient’s body weight on the AlterG until they can walk or run at 100 percent of their body weight without pain.”

    Athletes also use the Alter G to reduce the frequency of injuries, improve their fitness and develop muscle coordination with less impact on the body. People interested in learning more about the AlterG Antigravity Treadmill may contact the YRMC Wellness Center at (928) 771-5131.