Anne Arundel Medical Center today will close a Kent Island diagnostic center that no longer can support itself.
To cut costs, the health care system's planning board of directors voted early last month to shut down the radiological testing center.
Hospital officials don't foresee closing the area's three remaining diagnostic branches, in Annapolis, Arnold and Crofton, said Carolyn Tonty, hospital spokesman.
Carl Brunetto, president of Anne Arundel General Health Care Systems Inc., said the Kent Island center serves too few people.
The center opened in 1988. Typically, doctor'soffices or health clinics referred patients there for tests, such asX-rays, mammo
grams, fluoroscopy and ultrasound.
But, in 1989,the health care system closed Kent Island's walk-in clinic, where patients sought care for minor injuries and basic diagnostic services. The hospital sold it to a group of physicians.
Without referrals from the clinic, the number of patients visiting the diagnostic centerdwindled to fewer than 100 per month. Thatnumber no longer warrants running the branch, Tonty said.
"The services there are not in great demand," she said. "The population there didn't seem to warrant a facility of that type."
The other diagnostic centers have each served substantially more than 100 patients per month. All have been doing well financially and supporting the office on Kent Island, she said. The Arnold center opened in 1985, the Crofton center in 1987, and the Annapolis center on Ridgely Avenue last year.
Last month, the hospital closed its last two neighborhood health clinics, in Severna Park and Crofton. Both had lost money steadilysince opening in 1987.
Tonty said Kent Island patients requiring radiology tests can go to hospitals either in Annapolis or Easton, or to one of Anne Arundel Medical Center's three remaining diagnostic centers.
"It's difficult to justify maintaining the Kent Island operation when other accessible and well-located facilities are readily available," Brunetto said. "We feel confident that with our other centers, all patients will be adequately served."
The hospital will keep all X-rays and patient records.
Patients with questions can call the Radiology Department at 267-1209.