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Don’t wait to get the MRI you need

Health & Fitness

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If you live with chronic pain or devastating injury, there is reform on the horizon and hope in the future.

Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) is one of the best methods for detecting soft tissue injury and other abnormalities. It has an impressively wide range of diagnostic uses. However, until recently it has been a last resort for many physicians because of the large associated financial burden, with the average nationwide cost of $2,600.

For many Idahoans, insurance deductibles are high. As a result, much of the cost of initial assessment and imaging for pain or injury comes out of pocket, even when using insurance. Initial doctor visits, X-rays and follow-up appointments add to the cost and frustration with the health care system. This can lead to unnecessary prolonged pain and sometimes even lead the need for an otherwise preventable surgery.

“The current process is convoluted and not straightforward for patients,” said Kevin Taylor, MD, a Utah native and board-certified radiologist with TaylorMED MRI. “By offering a low-cash, all-inclusive price without the need for a doctor’s order, the patients can save money and time by avoiding some of the initial workup.”

Doctors like Taylor who offer this cash-pay model eliminate the need for a preliminary doctor’s order. This allows patients to get their imaging done first so they can take their results to the first appointment with their doctor and get right to making a plan for recovery.

“Our purpose is not for people to avoid seeing a physician. Instead, we just want to help them get to a diagnosis faster and at a lower out-of-pocket expense,” Taylor said.

Though his office does not bill insurance directly, health savings account funds can be used. For most, the all-inclusive price of $399 is still lower than their insurance deductible.

“Since I had not met my deductible, my co-pay wouldn’t have mattered,” said Denise Heaton, of Idaho Falls. “Imaging here was quoted at $1,200-plus if I submitted it through my insurance, and if I received the time-of-service discount, my cost would have been $888. So it was not even a question. I went to Utah to receive the MRI.”

In contrast to some imaging centers and hospitals, convenient same-day or next day appointments are available, saving valuable time. Patients are finding that low cost doesn’t equal poor quality, either. TaylorMED MRI, for example, offers imaging on a 1.5T MRI machine, which is the gold standard for MRI imaging, similar to what you find in hospitals and other imaging centers.

Events surrounding 2020 have made this an especially appealing option among the overworked hospital system and the current COVID-19 pandemic. Special precautions have been taken to ensure a safe environment, and a smaller staff means you get your imaging with a smaller associated risk. Many in surrounding states have traveled to take advantage of this out-of-the-box imaging solution.