Press Release

January 26, 2011               
For Immediate Release
Contact: Kari Ranten, Director of Marketing, 360-814-2370
Skagit Valley Hospital Endoscopy Unit Earns National Recognition

MOUNT VERNON –  Skagit Valley Hospital’s Endoscopy Unit recently received recognition from the American Society for Gastrointestinal Endoscopy (ASGE), a leading gastrointestinal medical society.

Recognition by ASGE acknowledges Skagit Valley Hospital’s dedication to promoting quality in endoscopy as one of 295 endoscopy units to be granted the recognition since 2009. The ASGE Endoscopy Unit Recognition Program honors endoscopy units that follow the ASGE guidelines on privileging, quality assurance, endoscopy reprocessing and CDC infection control guidelines and have completed specialized training on principles in quality and safety in endoscopy.

“This recognition shows we are doing a great job for the community in providing endoscopy services,” said Gastroenterologist Kalyan Wadwa, MD. “This is an important step forward and a great achievement. We will continue to work hard to expand the department and add new state-of-the-art services.”

In 2010, the hospital added a new direct access program for patients seeking a screening colonoscopy. The self-referral program allows patients to make an appointment for colorectal cancer screening. Patients who qualify for direct access are healthy adults who are seeking a screening colonoscopy as an initial screening or follow-up polyp surveillance. These patients will be interviewed by phone and then scheduled for a screening colonoscopy.

“It has been very popular with patients who want a screening because they don’t have to make a separate appointment with the doctor – we take care of it with a phone call,” said Stacy Gonzales, RN, Clinical Manager of Endoscopy at Skagit Valley Hospital.
Patients who are symptomatic, taking blood thinners or have any heart or lung compromise, will be connected to the gastroenterology office to set up a physician consult before a procedure is scheduled.

Colorectal cancer is preventable, treatable and beatable. As the third most common cancer in America for men and women, the risk of a person developing colon cancer in their lifetime is about 1 in 17. The American Cancer Society recommends screening for colorectal cancer for men and women at average risk beginning at age 50. An increase in the use of this screening procedure has contributed to a drop in the death rate from colorectal cancer over the past 15 years as polyps are found and removed early, before they turn into cancer.

Skagit Valley Hospital’s Endoscopy Unit received an ASGE "Certificate of Recognition" for promoting quality in endoscopy.

“ASGE is delighted to be recognizing these 295 endoscopy units, whose staff work hard every day to provide high-quality care to their patients in a safe environment,” said Bret T. Petersen, MD, FASGE, chairman, ASGE Quality Assurance in Endoscopy Committee. “There continues to be an outstanding response to this program. We are proud to acknowledge these ASGE members through our Endoscopy Unit Recognition Program for their commitment to promoting the highest standards of safety and quality.”

Endoscopy at Skagit Valley Hospital: For information and to schedule a screening colonoscopy at Skagit Valley Hospital, call 360-814-5739.

About Endoscopy: Endoscopy is performed by specially-trained physicians called endoscopists using the most current technology to diagnose and treat diseases of the gastrointestinal tract. Using flexible, thin tubes called endoscopes, endoscopists are able to access the human digestive tract without incisions via natural orifices. Endoscopes are designed with high-intensity lighting and fitted with precision devices that allow viewing and treatment of the gastrointestinal system.

About the American Society for Gastrointestinal Endoscopy: Since its founding in 1941, the American Society for Gastrointestinal Endoscopy (ASGE) has been dedicated to advancing patient care and digestive health by promoting excellence in gastrointestinal endoscopy. ASGE, with nearly 12,000 members worldwide, promotes the highest standards for endoscopic training and practice, fosters endoscopic research, recognizes distinguished contributions to endoscopy, and is the foremost resource for endoscopic education. Visit and for more information and to find a qualified doctor in your area.