Medical center plans to better serve area

Two years ago, they were struggling to get their building plans passed as neighboring residents fought hard to stop it.
Now, the new medical expansion at Independence Pointe is only months away from completion, and Dr. Victor Maldonado of Associated Radiologists of Oakland County (AROC) wants to show the community they’re doing what they promised: better serving Clarkston.
‘The number one point at the time (the proposal was up for approval) was to provide better service to our customers in the Clarkston office. We want the community to know we’re doing what we said we wanted to do.?
Specifically, he said, improvement is coming in the area of mammography. ‘We’re doubling our service.?
AROC has only one mammography unit, and will add another when construction of the new building is finished in early fall.
Office Manager Mary Slabinsky said there is currently a four month waiting period for mammograms, and the addition of a second machine will reduce the wait to only two to three weeks.
She said patients are given the opportunity to schedule an appointment in AROC’s larger Pontiac office, to lessen the waiting period. But, she said, ‘Seventy-five percent decline the offer to go to Pontiac. They’d rather stay close to home. They want to be treated in their community.?
AROC will also have a state-of-the-art multi-detector CT (MDCT) scanning system featuring better resolution for coronary and calcium scoring as well as angiography. The MDCT is a step up from what they are using currently and Diagnostic Radiologist Dr. Rita Pink said patient motion and breathing won’t be as much of an issue with the new technology.
‘We promised these things when we were fighting. Now we’re building what we promised,? Dr. Maldonado said.
One of the issues of need for AROC, when they sought proposal approval, was the waiting room.
They currently have a 10-chair waiting room, which they share with the neighboring laboratory office. So, in fact, only five chairs belong to AROC and five for the other office.
‘We’ve had people sitting on the floor, standing, standing behind the door, or in the hallway,? Slabinsky said, adding they’ve had several complaints from patients because of that.
Early morning and early afternoon are the busiest times. And in a day, AROC typically sees 60 to 70 people come through their office.
In the new 5,800 square foot office (AROC is currently in only 1,600 square feet), Slabinsky said the waiting room is 18×22 and should approximately have seating for 20.
The waiting room will also have lower counters to accommodate the handicap. Viewing the waiting room from the high front counter is impossible in the current office.
There will also be additional changing rooms, separate for male and female, with bathrooms attached and lockers. Presently, AROC has only two dressing rooms, but four people can be treated at one time. This causes some patients to have to change in the exam room.
‘When we first started (in 1991) we were seeing 10 patients a day,? Slabinsky said. ‘Probably, if we had the space we would have increased long ago. Because of the space, we’ve not been able to keep pace with the demands.?
‘We were lucky the Clarkston board voted on our side,? Dr. Maldonado said.
Though he’s excited about the upcoming improvements, he said, ‘We already provide an ideal medical center.? Independence Pointe Medical Center, affiliated with St. Joseph-Mercy Hospital, offers internal medicine, pediatrics, obstetrics and gynecology (who will also be moving into the new 10,560 square foot building), family dentistry and laboratory services, in addition to radiology. Clarkston Vision as well as arthritis specialists are located in an adjacent building.
Slabinsky said an orthopedic surgeon is slated to move into their space once vacated. It is unsure who will be moving into the space now occupied by the OB-GYN.