What Happens to the Uninsured?

By Caleb Burch

In the past several years, the US has been going through a healthcare crisis. Millions of Americans have lost their jobs, and for many of them, their health insurance. If you have recently lost your health insurance for any reason, do not be discouraged. There are several resources that you can draw from in order to help yourself get the treatment you need, without having to pay thousands of dollars out of pocket. An article posted in September of 2011, suggests, “Doctors are dispensing advice over the phone to save patients the cost of an office visit. Some ask pharmaceutical sales representatives to increase drug samples they can distribute to needy patients. Others provide care for free, or at a discount.” This is encouraging to hear. Although millions of Americans have lost their jobs since the start of the recession, and many of them have lost their insurance right along with it, they are not all going untreated.

Doctor offices are not the only places doing their part to assist uninsured patients. Most metropolitan areas around the country have clinics that specialize in helping uninsured patients. These clinics are normally run by the city, and charge patients based on their income and family size. Also, a handful of patient referral services have started up. Referral services are companies that find uninsured patients a place where they can go to get the medical attention they require. MRI Scan Group specializes in diagnostic imaging and helps uninsured patients across the country get discounted MRI’s, CT’s, etc..

If you have recently lost your health insurance for any reason, there is hope. Before giving up, see if your personal care doctor will help you, find a public health clinic, or give MRI Scan Group a call at 1.866.674.8840. Good luck!

Doctor Delay: Why People Put Off Getting Routine Medical Attention

Written By Elizabeth Meier

There is a growing trend in America recently of patients delaying routine medical checkups and testing. In this day and age, when the keys to good health are literally right at our fingertips, what keeps a large percent of the population from taking the necessary steps to stay updated on their health? Why would we delay important health safeguards, such as routine doctor visits, standard tests and diagnostic imaging?

Cost. Time. Fear. What is the reason that you put off going to the doctor? Do you find yourself delaying routine checkups, or medical tests? Do you make sure your children see their doctor regularly, but you don’t make it a priority for yourself? What is it that makes the average person delay getting routine medical attention?

Cost. In the last few years in the United States, the average job wages have fallen, while the cost of health care has gone up. In an article on this topic in the Huffington Post, Jeffrey Young writes, “A new survey shows more than a one-quarter of Americans had trouble with medical bills in the last year… Costs led 58 percent of people to put off or go without health care they needed in the previous 12 months, a increase from 50 percent last August, says a survey released Monday by the Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation, a nonprofit research organization based in Menlo Park, Calif. Americans skipped doctor and dentist visits, didn’t receive diagnostic tests, didn’t take their medicines, cut pills in half or took other steps to save money that could make them less healthy, the survey found.” Costs for medical procedures and testing, medications and health service have skyrocketed, which has led to an increase in health insurance premiums and/or deductibles. The number of uninsured in America has steadily risen in relation to this epidemic.

Time. Who has the time to go to the doctor? With a daily or weekly schedule that includes work, gym, child pickups, grocery shopping, dinner, and let’s not forget to mention the commuting in between, it is easy to put off or find yourself continuously rescheduling that doctor’s appointment that you feel is not urgent. Jessica Larsen in her La Cosse Tribune article said, “There’s just not enough (time). Between work, school, kids and cleaning, who has time to sit in a clinic waiting room? Moms and caregivers are especially guilty of putting visits off. Even doctors claim the “too busy” card. One doctor admits he sometimes gets behind on going to his eye appointments. ‘Society is so busy. We’re all working 60-hour weeks, have three kids —last thing on anyone’s mind is taking a day off, not get paid, and going to see a doctor,’ he said.”
Fear. Iatrophobia – the fear of going to the doctor. Claustrophobia – the fear of enclosed spaces. Radiophobia – the fear of radiation or X-rays. Mechanophobia – the fear of machines.
Having one or several of these common fears is enough to make you run screaming in the other direction when it comes to going to the doctor, or having medical tests performed. However, the fear of the unknown hopefully wins out in this medical battle royale. It is common to avoid hearing bad news, and most of us expect the worst when it comes to medical tests, but that fear should not stand in the way of having good health confirmed, or a minor worrisome issue taken care of once and for all!

This blog written by staff at MRI Scan Group – a nation-wide referral service for diagnostic imaging. Contact us at 1-866-674-8840, or on our website at http://www.mriscangroup.com/.

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/06/11/health-care-costs_n_1587284.html

http://lacrossetribune.com/news/local/procrastination-has-real-consequences-when-it-comes-to-going-to/article_67afc6bc-dead-11e1-9cbc-001a4bcf887a.html

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_phobias

Emergence of MRIs in Cancer Detection

Written By Norman McPhail

World Cancer Day passed us by in February with very little recognition. It seems a shame that something as deadly as cancer did not receive more publicity. Everyone has or will be affected by cancer in some way over the course of their life (I know I have). Education is the key to help elevate our awareness of this deadly disease.
Skin Cancer is the most common type of cancer, with well over 1 million cases in the US per year. The good news is that skin cancer is the most treatable with less than 1,000 deaths per year. Interestingly enough, men and women differ quite a bit as far as cancer risk. Men have to worry about prostate cancer, whereas breast cancer is prevalent in women. Lung cancer is equally of concern for both men and women with 210,000 cases per year.
The good news is that cancer survival rates are much better today than just a few years ago. “In 2009, Americans had a 20% lower risk of death from cancer than they did in 1991, a milestone that shows we truly are creating more birthdays,” said John R. Seffrin, PhD, chief executive officer of the American Cancer Society. People are taking matters into their own hands through education by eating better, working out and visiting the doctor more often.
Doctors have many more tools today that can help them detect cancers. X-Rays, CT Scans, Ultrasound, PET and MRIs, among others, are the weapons of choice.
Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) is a relatively new technology, having been introduced in 1947. The first human MRI did not occur until 1977. The first MRI equipment to perform exams was developed in the 1980’s. In 2009 there were almost 8 thousand magnets in use around the United States. Today, the MRI is at the forefront of technology and leading the way in reducing the number of deaths from cancer each year.
An MRI uses a combination of a large magnet, radio frequencies and computers that produces detailed images of organs and structures within your body. More importantly, an MRI helps distinguish between normal and diseased tissue to help identify cancer. The MRI provides greater contrast than a CT scan between the different soft tissues of the body.
An MRI is often used to examine the heart, inside bones, brain, liver, pancreas, spine, muscles, male and female reproductive organs, and other soft tissues. It can assess blood flow (contrast), detect tumors and diagnose many forms of cancer, and can help evaluate infections and assess injuries to bones and joints.
MRI Scan Group (MRISG) is a nation-wide referral service for diagnostic imaging, and helps make diagnostic imaging more affordable for the cash paying patients.

MRI Scan Group: http://www.mriscangroup.com
World Cancer Day: http://www.worldcancerday.org

MRI Accessories To Promote A Safe And Positive Environment

Written by Caleb Burch and Norman McPhail

Since MRI machines have been around, there has been constant progress to make scanners more efficient in order to help increase revenue for the facility.  The technology of today has allowed us to develop state of the art, MRI compatible accessories that can help make the experience better, safer and more profitable.  Two accessories that are commonly used today in the MRI Suite are Patient Safety Monitoring System (SAMM) and the Stereo System.

What makes an accessory MRI compatible?   All accessories used inside the magnet room (earphones, speakers, cameras and cables) must be fully dielectric (non-ferrous) and safe in an MRI environment.  Dielectric material is an electrical insulator that does not allow an electric field to flow through it, nor is it affected by the strong MRI magnet.  A special dielectric, non-ferrous transducer for the sound system ensures that the music and communication reach the patient without any safety concerns or image quality issues.  The transducer converts the electrical output into moving air – no metal speaker or cables/wires next to the patient.  The moving air delivers the audio signal through plastic tubes to a headset/microphone or speakers inside the scan room

PATIENT MONITORING SYSTEM

The Patient Safety and Monitoring System (SAMM) is an MRI safe and compatible camera observation system that allows a technologist to monitor a patient while they are in the bore of the scanner.  It consists of a camera that can be mounted anywhere in the MRI suite, a single camera on one end or multiple cameras to view both sides of the magnet.  This camera then connects to a monitor placed in the operator room which displays high quality real time video to the technologist.  The system is simple and easy to install and set-up.

Being monitored by a SAMM System while receiving an MRI scan assists the patient in a couple of different ways.  Patients tend to feel more comfortable when they know that the technologist has a clear view of them.   Often time’s a patient can get restless during their MRI and can’t help but move; often times this movement goes unnoticed by the technologist and patients end up having to redo their scan.  When technologists have an easier time monitoring this movement they are able to pause the scan until the patient is ready to continue.  This saves time and money!

A happy patient makes for a happier technologist.  Benefits for the technologist don’t end there.  The installation of a monitoring system helps to make a technologist’s job easier in several ways.  First, when they’re able to monitor the patient better, they’re able to reduce motion artifacts in the final scan.  In addition, the technologist will be able to multi-task because they are able to view patients by simply viewing a screen versus looking through the traditional window.  The last but certainly not the least benefit I’d like to point out for technologists is that they will be spending less time on each patient, allowing them to see more patients, get more side work done, or even have shorter hours.

Of course, every benefit mentioned for both the patient and the technologist is also a benefit for the facility itself.  A happy patient is more likely to pay for the services they received in full, spread the word that they had a good experience, and even write a good review online.  Positive publicity is the best publicity.  Of course, the benefits for the facility go even further than that when they install the monitoring system.   The facility will be able to record EVERYTHING that happens in the MRI suite with the DVR option some monitoring systems include.  This added benefit can allow the site manager to review how well of a job their technologists are doing, provide answers when equipment suddenly breaks, or even provide protection in a potential lawsuit.

SOUND SYSTEM

A sound system inside your MRI scanning room will help alleviate tension and promote relaxation for the patient.  A relaxed and entertained patient (not worried about lying still or loud noises), will be less likely to move, reducing re-scans and saving you time & money.

Most patients are nervous when getting an MRI and need a way to help take their mind off of the scan in order to help relax.  The sterile medical environment, the smell and the stress of a hospital room makes me nervous just thinking about it.   Music or a DVD will help lower the stress level.   Each patient is different and their comfort is always paramount.  Patients should always be encouraged to bring in their own music.  Always have music available that you have found to be helpful (waterfalls, rain) as well.

Important features to look for in an audio system are a combination CD and DVD Player, universal docking bracket for both Mp3 and iPod, remote control, earphones.   A desktop microphone is a valuable tool for every stereo system.  The microphone will allow the technician to talk to the patient during the scan.

Bottom line, get the right system.  Any accessory you add could interfere with your MRI image, so do your research.   Companies that make quality systems include Sound Imaging, MRIequip.com, Newmatic Medical, and Universal Medical.  Prices range from $1,000 for a basic set-up to $6,000 for a complete system.

MRI Accessories will help boost your return on investment for your MRI.  Music will help put the patient at ease and promote a stress free scanning environment.  Video monitoring will identify problems as they happen in the scanning suite to help save time and boost the number of scans you can do per day.

 

Helium Shortage Harms MRI Patients

By Winni Jeong

Yes, gas is one of the most abundant elements in the universe. Yes, the U.S. alone produces 75% of the world’s helium. And yes, this same helium supply is running out… fast.

The shortage of helium doesn’t just mean party store owners have to pay more for helium tanks for ballooning. It could also restrict the ability of patients to obtain an MRI scan.

Helium is crucial to MRI production. In an MRI system, the main component is a large magnet with superconducting wire cooled to 4.2 Kelvin or minus 452 F. Currently, Helium is the only element on Earth that effectively maintains this cold temperature. Thus, with little helium to be found, these scanners become extremely difficult to maintain.

With no helium to properly service an MRI, the magnet could sustain permanent damage. Then, hospitals or centers need to replace the machine, which is an expensive and time-consuming process. As a result, gradually, this could harm patient care as the amount of available and functioning MRI machines decrease.

As a solution, the U.S. Senate is considering the Helium Stewardship Act of 2012. This would extend the 2015 deadline for the sell-off of the Federal Helium Program. Consequently, it will allow the federal government to continue supplying world markets with helium, selling it at market prices. However, despite introducing this possible solution in April, Congress has still not taken any action on the bill. In the meantime, the fate of patients requiring MRI scans hangs in the balance.