In 2008, a group of visionary Tacoma health leaders spearheaded an innovative, collaborative solution to a chronic problem in South Puget Sound – women sometimes waited anxiously for up to six or eight weeks to receive results from breast diagnostic procedures. Compounding this was a need for improved efficiencies of care for patients by centralizing radiologists specializing in mammography and breast imaging rather than having them spread out among different breast imaging locations.
In order to best serve women in the South Puget Sound, community leaders pioneered an innovative model of delivering breast screening and diagnostic services. With a shared goal of improving community access to outstanding breast health services, two competing non-profit health care systems, Virginia Mason Franciscan Health and MultiCare Health System, closed their respective breast imaging services in Tacoma and jointly opened the Carol Milgard Breast Center in 2009.
The two systems hired TRA Medical Imaging, a well-known and reputable radiology group, to provide radiology services and manage the breast center. In an era of runaway medical costs, this willingness to work together rather than compete for scarce resources enabled the three organizations to create the community’s first imaging center focusing exclusively on breast care.
By centralizing resources into one center, these innovative and collaborative partners were able to combine the great breast health care services each organization was known for and provide a facility that is even more patient-centered, comforting and caring. Patients throughout our community are receiving better care more quickly because of the Carol Milgard Breast Center. The breast center also allows women to come to one place for all their screening and diagnostic breast imaging needs.
Inspired by the vision of Khai Tran, M.D., and the commitment and generous gift from the Gary E. Milgard Family Foundation, the Carol Milgard Breast Center became a reality. The Gary E. Milgard Family Foundation is a private philanthropic organization founded in Tacoma in 2000 by Gary and Carol Milgard and their three children. Although Carol Milgard, a long-time Tacoma resident, philanthropist and 30-year breast cancer survivor has passed away, her spirit lives on in the Carol Milgard Breast Center.