SAFETY FIRST: Diagnostic Imaging in the U.S.

by Elizabeth Meier

Though MRI scans are generally low-risk, three patients in Brazil recently suffered cardio-respiratory arrests and died after routine MRI scans. This occurred at a private hospital near Sao Paulo, Brazil, during which each was supposedly injected with a contrast agent to improve the visibility in the MRI images. MRI scans were suspended by Brazilian authorities until the outcome of a full investigation was completed. It turned out that a nurse technician, operating without the supervision of the head nurse, injected the chemical perfluorocarbon in the patients’ veins, instead of contrast used regularly during an MRI. The chemical turned into a deadly gas when mixed with the patient’s blood, leading swiftly to a cardiac arrest. A tragedy such as this enforces the need for rigorous safety guidelines with regards to diagnostic imaging.

Americans crossing the border into Mexico to receive discounted diagnostic imaging scans has become a common practice in recent years. This is largely due to the fact that most Americans don’t know that the same scan can be found in the United States for the same price or less! Unfortunately, not all countries have the stringent health and safety guidelines that facilities in America operate under. There is no need to take that kind of chance with your health and safety. One of the most well known organizations in America, who works to ensure these guidelines are met, is the American College of Radiology (ACR). The ACR’s MRI Accreditation Program evaluates staff qualifications, quality control, MR safety policies and image quality to ensure the health and safety of the patient and facility staff. Each piece of diagnostic imaging equipment must pass a strict evaluation process in order to be ACR accredited. The question is, how should you go about finding an ACR accredited facility near you, that you can actually afford?

Thankfully, there are services, like MRI Scan Group, who offer patients access to their network of over 400 ACR accredited facilities across the United States. They have a “SAFETY FIRST” approach, and only accept ACR-accredited, quality imaging facilities into their network of nationwide imaging centers that accept cash paying patients. For those in need of affordable diagnostic imaging in an uncertain economy, the MRI Scan Group offers safe, quality, reliable options for uninsured and underinsured patients. MRI Scan Group has a team of patient representatives available to assist patients in finding an ACR accredited facility nearest them at a price they can afford. They will help schedule the scan you need quickly, and are happy to answer any questions you might have. MRI Scan Group’s network of centers is growing everyday to meet the demands of patients in need. They do the legwork for you, and have compiled their network of ACR accredited centers who can offer the scan you need at the price you want.

http://www.estadao.com.br/noticias/geral,composto-quimico-matou-pacientes-diz-policia,1025593,0.htm

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-latin-america-21253019

http://www.acr.org/Quality-Safety/Accreditation

http://www.mriscangroup.com/

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YOU BETTER SHOP AROUND… FOR AN MRI!

By Norman McPhail

Being uninsured and needing an MRI in the United States can be an overwhelming experience. The health care/diagnostic imaging business is a tangled web of confusion. Prices for a scan can set you back upwards of $2,000 per scan (Ouch)! The question is: How can you find a competitive priced scan to fit the uninsured budget?

In an emergency, you might not have the option to choose a facility for imaging services. Uninsured diagnostic imaging patients usually don’t need to have the scan done same day and thus have time to shop. The problem is that most people without insurance don’t realize that they CAN shop around. But YOU do! The best way to fight back is to do your homework. Just like when you are buying a car or new TV; shop around! You can search by price or location & scan type. If you do your research right, you could save THOUSANDS of dollars.

Imaging rates are negotiated between insurance companies, physicians, hospitals, and pharmaceutical companies. The negotiated rates are normally shielded and not made available to the public. These shielded rates make it a muddy mess for uninsured patients to research and compare prices. The good news is that negotiated rates only apply to insurance companies. You do have options being uninsured and needing to pay for your health care out of your pocket.

My go-to tool for diagnostic image shopping is the internet! The internet will help you find the imaging services you need, for a price that won’t break the bank. Price comparison websites such as Healthcare Blue Book, New Choice Health and MRI Scan Group can assist you in making an informed decision that won’t break the bank. Affordable imaging is available at your fingertips, so get those piggies moving!

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