Welcome to Yes: Bellingham Advanced Medical Imaging
Bellingham Advanced Medical Imaging
1344 King St., #101
As a CT Technologist at Bellingham Advanced Medical Imaging (BAMI), Jason Plumb knows when patients are confronted with the large, donut-shaped machine that has the ability to take pictures of their organs, bones and other tissues, he has the power to put them at ease.
“Calm patients make for a better exam,” Plumb says, noting the “quiet and quick” scans he oversees require people to remain still and sometimes hold their breath. “I’m very relaxed, and I want my patients to be relaxed as well.”
Although he’s been employed in the computed tomography field for almost 15 years, Plumb says the time he’s spent working at BAMI since the medical imaging center opened in June 2018 has opened his eyes to a more patient-centric way of providing care.
With the motto of “Welcome To Yes,” the technologists, radiologists and receptionists at BAMI work hard to make sure patients who are walking through their easily accessible King Street doors for a CT, MRI, Ultrasound, or X-ray know their care is the staff’s top priority. They’ll never be told the diagnostic imaging center isn’t accepting additional patients, or that the doctors don’t have time to talk to them. Instead, they’ll discover simple scheduling, transparent pricing that is often less expensive than the same service at a hospital or other imaging centers in the region, and personnel who are more than willing to answer any questions they may have.
“I love watching how patients react when I say yes,” Plumb says. “My experience is that older people especially want to know exactly what I’m doing along the way: ‘How long will it take? How accurate is it? When can I expect a phone call from my physician?’ I anticipate these questions, and am happy to say, ‘Yes, of course I can answer that for you.’”
Other common queries seniors have relate to the aforementioned cost of the services they’ll be receiving. Because BAMI works with patients on Medicare and Apple Health (Medicaid)—among a wide array of other major insurance providers—they can rest assured the group’s financial services team will help them navigate the often-confusing world of health insurance coverage. Payment plans and recurring billing are also options, and those without insurance can inquire about cash-pay prices and prepay discounts.
Whatever patients are dealing with—whether it be a torn ligament, unexpected abdominal pain, scoliosis or a cancer diagnosis—they should know they won’t be turned away.
Dr. Laurence D. Cambron, the Medical Director at BAMI and one of the neuroradiologists who saw the need to open an outpatient imaging center in the first place, says that in addition to serving Whatcom County residents, they also work with patients who are receiving care from as far away as Seattle and Vancouver.
This is possible because BAMI acts as a community partner to deliver their results to the patients’ primary physician, if necessary. After getting scans from the CT, MRI, ultrasound or X-ray technologists, the trained radiologists then provide detailed reports and high-quality images of the results to the physicians using an easy-to-navigate picture archiving and communications systems (PACS) portal.
“Our staff incorporates the latest technology in medical imaging and image-guided therapy into cost-effective clinical practice,” BAMI’s service statement reads. “We actively maintain a leadership role in providing these services to the medical community and collaborate with health care providers to continuously improve patient care. Our shared values include mutual respect, teamwork, superior service, professionalism and confidentiality.”
Don Enos, BAMI’s director of marketing and business development, says he’s found some people aren’t even aware they have an option when it comes to where they can receive medical imaging. He adds that as Whatcom County and surrounding areas have become more populated, outpatient services like theirs have become even more valuable to patients to save time and money. And the fact that BAMI is focused on customer service as well as top-notch medical care is a critical element to their success.
“We are an extension to doctors we work with, so there’s a seamless experience with the patients,” he says. “After all, we’re all patients at some point and just want to feel better.”
On a typical day at BAMI, patients might arrive to find one of the receptionists filling out thank you cards to send to prior visitors while fielding queries from someone else calling to find out if their scans had been sent to their physician (not surprisingly, the answer is often “yes, of course”).
While waiting for their appointment, it’s likely they’ll take a deep breath while listening to the water feature behind the front desk or watching nature-focused videos full of birdsong and other calming elements that combine to put them at ease. Maybe they’ll have time to read a magazine, but more often than not the technologists are working in a timely manner, and their appointment will soon be underway.
“Everyone here has a good attitude,” says Ultrasound Technologist Sarah Zhivora. She says caring for people has helped her get over her innate shyness, and that she loves connecting with her patients.
Above all, though, she makes sure she’s doing her job to the best of her abilities. She wants to always be able to answer “yes” when asked if she did what was needed to provide care to the patient.
WHAT: Bellingham Advanced Medical Imaging
WHEN: 8am-5pm, Mon.-Fri.
WHERE: 1344 King St., #101