How the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act Affects Personal Injury Attorneys

21 Sep 2018 Personal Injury

How the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act Affects Personal Injury Attorneys

 

The Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017 made headlines by dropping the corporate tax rate from 35 percent to 21 percent. While that sounds like great news for every business, many personal injury attorneys operate as pass-through entities—not corporations.

 

So will personal injury firms get a tax break under this new law? The answer is, as so often in matters of tax law, both simple and complex: It depends. Here are a few things that every personal injury lawyer should know about the new tax law:

 

  • Pass-through businesses can take a new deduction—but only under certain income limits, and odds are attorneys don’t make the cut.

 

Certain pass-through organizations—sole proprietorships, partnerships, and S corporations, for example—can deduct up to 20 percent of business income from their taxes under the new law. But the benefit scales down at a certain income threshold, and many personal injury attorneys may not be able to take advantage.

 

The deduction cap is reduced at a limit of $175,000 for single filers and $315,000 for married couples. At an annual income of $415,000, the deduction disappears entirely.     

 

 

  • Firms that are organized as corporations will benefit from the reduced corporate tax rate.

 

 

Of course, not every personal injury firm is organized as a pass-through. Businesses that are taxed as corporations can take advantage of the heavy drop in the corporate rate, which, as we mentioned, dropped from 35 percent to 21 percent.

 

 

  • Contingent-fee attorneys in the Ninth Circuit narrowly avoided an end to deduction benefits.

 

 

At Precise Imaging, we work with lots of contingent-fee lawyers, thanks to our flexible payment program that includes liens and letters of protection. So we know that deductions for these legal firms operate differently in California and the rest of the Ninth Circuit than they do elsewhere in the nation.

 

Attorneys who work through gross fee contracts, in which they agree to pay legal costs through their own percentages at the conclusion of a case, are allowed to deduct those costs. An early draft of the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act ended this deduction for the Ninth Circuit, but by the time the President signed the bill into law, that provision was gone. So contingent-fee attorneys with gross fee contracts can continue to deduct costs in California and elsewhere.

 

This last point brings us to the services we at Precise Imaging provide for personal injury attorneys. Diagnostic imaging can be considered a legal cost, and as such, the expense is often deductible for Ninth-Circuit lawyers with gross fee contracts.

 

To discuss the ways diagnostic imaging can help with a personal injury case in California and beyond, or to learn more about liens and letters of protection for imaging services, call us at 800-558-2223.  

5 Ways Physicians Can Keep Imaging Costs Down for Patients

According to the American Medical Association (AMA) Code of Medical Ethics, “Managing health care resources responsibly for the benefit of all patients is compatible with physicians’ primary obligation to serve the interests of individual patients.” In other words, doctors should consider the cost of treatment, and save their patients money when they can.

 

At a time of record health care costs — more than $28,000 for the typical U.S. family in 2018 — this isn’t just an issue of saving patients a few dollars here and there. When patients can’t afford to pay their health care bills, they’re more likely to delay seeking treatment. That delay can affect the outcome of eventual care.

 

Of course, as the AMA states, “Physicians’ primary ethical obligation is to promote the well-being of individual patients.” Sometimes that well-being hinges on cash or its lack. So how can general practitioners and other referring physicians limit the cost of care for their patients? Diagnostic imaging is a great place to start. The cost of imaging studies has grown faster than wages, overall inflation, and health care expense.  

 

Luckily, doctors are pushing back against hospital pricing for these services. Here are a few ways referring physicians can provide excellent care for their patients without overspending on imaging studies:

 

 

  • Involve patients in the decision to seek or omit imaging tests. When a patient presents with conditions that aren’t life threatening, doctors have significant leeway to work within the patient’s preferences. Often, this leads to fewer imaging studies, with associated savings. In a recent study, doctors who used shared decision-making tools with their patients ordered 7 percent fewer advanced imaging tests and 30 percent fewer standard imaging studies.  

 

 

 

  • Avoid ordering full-body scans to screen for tumors unless patients show symptoms. The American College of Preventive Medicine discourages the use of whole-body scanning to screen asymptomatic patients for tumors. They point out that no data suggests survival improvement for patients, and that less than 2 percent of asymptomatic patients screened had tumors.
  • Choose imaging providers with upfront pricing, and share that information with patients. It shouldn’t be difficult to find pricing for imaging procedures before making a referral. If a provider conceals prices, choose another imaging clinic. With accurate pricing information in hand, physicians can work with patients to conduct a cost-benefit analysis of ordering a study.

 

 

 

  • Refer patients to high-quality imaging clinics rather than relying on hospital radiology departments. As we’ve mentioned in this space before, an MRI from a freestanding independent imaging center is often thousands of dollars less than the same procedure at a hospital — even with the same doctors and the same equipment. Choosing a high-quality imaging provider that’s free from hospital pricing is the easiest way to save patients money on diagnostic tests.  

 

 

 

  • Take advantage of digital delivery of diagnostic images and radiology reports. Doctors and patients can access digital reports anywhere and at any time, leading to lower costs and greater access. Precise Imaging offers doctors digital access and 24/7 tech support through a dedicated physician’s portal.

 

 

With the ongoing public discussion of the U.S. health care system, awareness of the role of finances in treatment continues to rise. It’s time to have these discussions; as of 2013, only 36 percent of surveyed physicians believed they had a “major responsibility” to control care costs on their patients’ behalf.

 

But we know that affordability can translate into real-world effects on outcomes. Patient well-being and the costs of care are not two separate issues; they are bound together in complex, intractable ways. By choosing dedicated, patient-centered providers like Precise Imaging, doctors can get patients the services they need without unnecessarily adding to their burden of medical debt. Call us at 800-558-2223 or fill out our online form to make a referral today.   

 

References:

 

Bradley D, Bradley K. The value of diagnostic medical imaging. North Carolina Medical Journal [serial online]. March 2014;75(2):121-125. Available from: MEDLINE Complete, Ipswich, MA. Accessed August 16, 2018.

 

Choosing Wisely, an initiative of the ABIM Foundation. American College of Preventive Medicine: Five things physicians and patients should question. Choosing Wisely. [online]. February 25, 2015. Available from www.choosingwisely.org. Accessed August 16, 2018.

 

Herdman MT, Maude RJ, Chowdhury MS, et al. The Relationship between Poverty and Healthcare Seeking among Patients Hospitalized with Acute Febrile Illnesses in Chittagong, Bangladesh. Ali M, ed. PLoS ONE. 2016;11(4):e0152965. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0152965. Accessed August 16, 2018.

 

O’Reilly K. The AMA Code of Medical Ethics and health care spending. AMA Wire. [serial online]. April 18, 2018. Available from wire.ama-assn.org. Accessed August 16, 2018.

 

Rainey M. Health care costs for typical American family hit record high. The Fiscal Times [serial online]. May 23, 2018. Available from www.thefiscaltimes.com. Accessed August 16, 2018.

 

Smith-Bindman R, Miglioretti DL, Larson EB. Rising Use Of Diagnostic Medical Imaging In A Large Integrated Health System: The use of imaging has skyrocketed in the past decade, but no one patient population or medical condition is responsible. Health affairs (Project Hope). 2008;27(6):1491-1502. doi:10.1377/hlthaff.27.6.1491. Accessed August 16, 2018.

 

Tilburt JC, Wynia MK, Sheeler RD, et al. Views of US Physicians About Controlling Health Care Costs. JAMA. 2013;310(4):380-388. doi:10.1001/jama.2013.8278.

 

The World Bank. Poverty and health. The World Bank. [online]. World Bank. August 25, 2014. Available from www.worldbank.com. Accessed August 16, 2018.

 

Veroff D, Marr A, Wennberg DE. Enhanced support for shared decision making reduced costs of care for patients with preference-sensitive conditions. Health affairs (Project Hope). 2013;32(2). doi.org/10.1377/hlthaff.2011.0941 Accessed August 16, 2018.

 

Diagnostic Imaging for Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI): What Every Attorney Should Know

Traumatic brain injury (TBI) can be one of the most devastating results of an at-fault accident, in a car, on the job, or even just walking down the sidewalk. The sheer volume of human systems that the brain controls — all of them, essentially — leads to an extraordinarily diverse set of symptoms in cases of TBI. Convincing judges and jurors that these disparate symptoms can all be traced back to a preventable injury is not always easy.

 

The irony here is that a moderate or severe TBI can lead to challenges that most deserve restitution. Some brain injuries are so severe that they deprive the victim of the ability to work. Others might even prevent a patient from participating in the tasks of daily living necessary for independence. If a client in a TBI-related personal-injury case is to be made whole, settlements may have to provide for them for the rest of their lives.

 

This combination of high stakes and soft proofs makes it imperative that attorneys in such cases understand diagnostic imaging. After all, while a defense team may be able to convince the judge that behavior changes are unrelated to an accident, it is hard to argue with an image of a damaged brain.

 

Here are a few things that personal injury lawyers should know about diagnostic imaging as it relates to TBI:

 

  1. Different modalities excel at documenting different types of injuries. Radiologists are likely to use standard diagnostic tests like CT and MRI scans to diagnose TBI. They might order X-ray scans, but only in cases of suspected damage to the skull; X-ray images do not differentiate between soft tissues. Doctors might even prescribe advanced imaging techniques, such as perfusion CT, diffusion tensor imaging (DTI), or magnetoencephalography, a form of fMRI.   

 

 

  • CT scans without contrast are the primary modality used to identify most primary, acute injuries. A TBI is not a single injury, but a cluster of related events. Doctors divide TBI into primary and secondary injuries. The first occurs at the moment of impact, causing a chain-reaction of events within the brain that often lead to further damage: secondary injuries. This is why doctors typically prescribe ongoing diagnostic imaging for TBI patients.

 

 

While advanced imaging modalities including brain-function tests like PET scans and functional MRI may identify secondary injuries, the first-line test for diagnosing primary TBI is the noncontrast CT scan. This is the fastest way to accurately expose bleeding that requires immediate surgery.   

 

  1. Doctors use MRI scans to identify certain types of TBIs that do not always show on a CT scan.  While doctors typically order CT scans first, there are some types of TBI that require MRI for identification. When a primary TBI does not result in intracranial bleeding, MRI scans are often the better choice. Injuries that the MRI identifies better than CT scans include brain bruising and traumatic axonal injury (TAI), shear-strain damage to white matter caused by the brain’s rapid acceleration within the skull.       

 

As in any case involving diagnostic images, attorneys should engage expert witnesses such as neurologists or radiologists to explain what’s going on in the pictures. This is particularly important in brain-function scans, such as fMRI and PET scans, which are often inscrutable for untrained viewers.  

 

The good news for attorneys new to TBI cases and the diagnostic interventions that document them is that expert help is available. This brings us to our next point.  


Expert Assistance for Personal Injury Cases Representing Victims of TBI

 

Personal injury lawyers and their clients deserve the chance to focus entirely on a TBI case. That can’t happen when they’re navigating complex scheduling systems at large hospitals or arguing with insurance companies. That’s why Precise MRI always strives to provide for attorneys and their clients with what they need, when they need it.

 

Precise MRI offers quick turnarounds on radiology reports, with same-day scans and results within 24 hours. We provide more than 70 imaging centers in California, Arizona, and Nevada for convenient, close-to-home access for patients. Our friendly scheduling staff will find an appointment that works for your client, even on weekends and evenings.

 

Attorneys themselves have their client’s crucial information at their fingertips thanks to an online portal designed for legal professionals. It’s available 24/7, and so is IT service, ensuring that patients and their lawyers can access medical data at their own convenience.

 

We accept personal injury liens — and even offer a free, downloadable lien form for immediate access — and attorney letters of protection for personal injury. Our teams of fully certified medical professionals have long-term experience working with attorneys on all sorts of personal injury cases, including those involving TBI. Even more important, they’re devoted to a patient-based model of care, and work hard to ensure quality, comfort, and convenience for all.

 

To learn more about attorney resources from Precise Imaging, or to schedule a CT or MRI scan for a client, call us today at 800-558-2223.  

 

References:

 

Hill CS, Coleman MP, Menon DK. Traumatic Axonal Injury: Mechanisms and Translational Opportunities. Trends in Neurosciences. 2016;39(5):311-324. doi:10.1016/j.tins.2016.03.002.

 

Kim JJ, Gean AD. Imaging for the Diagnosis and Management of Traumatic Brain Injury. Neurotherapeutics. 2011;8(1):39-53. doi:10.1007/s13311-010-0003-3.

MRI Scans Could Lead to New, Non-Invasive Tests for Alzheimer’s Disease Before Symptoms Appear

23 Jul 2018 MRI ,

 

There are currently 5.7 million people living with Alzheimer’s disease (AD) in the United States, and this number is projected to reach 14 million by the year 2020. As of 2018, AD was the fifth-leading cause of death of seniors, taking more lives than breast or prostate cancer combined. With such staggering and ever-increasing numbers, the need for early detection and treatment has reached a crisis point.

 

But understanding AD hasn’t been easy. Researchers have struggled to identify the true cause of this disease, develop a standard treatment plan, or find a cure. While an AD diagnosis may seem dire, early detection of the disease can help identify how the disease progresses, which in turn can help to create a treatment option.

 

New Research on AD Biomarkers and How to Detect Them

 

Recent research has shown a connection between changes in the brain’s anatomy and biomarkers known to appear at the early signs of AD. These biomarkers occur before any sign of cognitive problems, meaning these markers could possibly lead to a new, non-invasive AD screening test. Researchers have already discovered that the build up of amyloid-Beta and tau proteins on the brain, as well as a loss of volume in the hippocampus, are early signs of AD.

 

To further examine any links between these two phenomena, researchers from McGill University and McGill-affiliated health institutes studied 88 AD at-risk individuals with no signs of any cognitive decline from the disease. The subjects were given MRI scans to check brain volume, and also had cerebrospinal fluid samples taken to test levels of amyloid-Beta and tau proteins.

 

The researchers found that high levels of both amyloid-Beta and tau proteins were associated with loss of hippocampus volume, but there was no loss in volume when only one of the proteins accumulates within the brain. This suggests that doctors may someday be able to use MRI scans to monitor changes in the brains of AD patients at a microstructural level, before more serious changes begin to take place.

 

The recognition that symptoms of AD progress from physiological to cognitive can help diagnose those most at risk of developing this disease. These biomarkers might also help with testing the effectiveness of trial medications, and might one day allow physicians to target at-risk individuals with a simply MRI scan rather than a painful lumbar puncture.

 

The Expanding Role of MRI Scans in AD Diagnosis and Treatment

 

Non-invasive tests for AD have ramifications that extend well beyond patients themselves, to friends, family, and society at large. The fact is, in addition to being heartbreaking, Alzheimer’s is an incredibly costly disease. Many AD patients require more hospital visits, as well as full-time, long term care. However, accurate and early diagnosis of Alzheimer’s disease could help save $7.9 trillion is medical costs—and relieve some strain on family members and friends.

 

Thanks to MRI scans and their potential role in spotting Alzheimer’s before cognitive symptoms appear, we seem to be edging ever-closer to the ultimate goal of treating AD effectively.   

 

References:

 

Alzheimer’s Disease Facts and Figures.ALZ. Alzheimer’s Association, 2018. Web. 28 June 2018.

 

A non-invasive method to detect Alzheimer’s disease.McGill. McGill University, 19 Dec. 2017. Web. 28 June 2018.

Diagnostic Imaging in Spinal Injuries: A Guide for Personal Injury Lawyers

It’s difficult to overstate the importance of diagnostic images in spinal injury litigation. When properly presented, a diagnostic image offers clear, compelling evidence—but if the image doesn’t clearly show the injury, or if there’s any question as to the validity of the attorney’s interpretation, the entire case can be compromised.

Of course, every personal injury attorney understands these points, but in order to use images effectively, they should understand the basics of different imaging technologies. That includes the tactics that radiology professionals must employ to deliver high-quality, diagnostically relevant images.

 

How Types of Spinal Injuries Affect the Diagnostic Imaging Process

 

The first consideration is the severity and location of the injury. Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) provides the best diagnostic images for spinal cord and soft-tissue injuries, both for radiology professionals and for laypersons (while diagnostic images need to be evaluated by a trained professional, the images are obviously more useful to attorneys if the injuries are clearly visible and easy to explain).

MRIs can show chronic issues such as spinal misalignment. Spinal fractures are easier to identify via computed tomography (CT), while spinal vascular injuries can be evaluated with either technology. In any case, trained radiology professionals working with the latest tech can discern a surprising amount of information, including the approximate age of the injury, which can help attorneys build winning cases.

 

Choosing Diagnostic Imaging Services for Personal Injury Cases

Personal injury attorneys should keep other practical considerations in mind when directing their clients.

As mentioned earlier, timing is often a crucial factor, particularly in spinal fracture cases. An imaging facility should be able to produce high-quality results quickly and at a fair cost — and, for the benefit of the attorney, those images should be in commonly used digital formats, ready for reproduction. Many attorneys choose to highlight certain parts of MRIs and CT scans with software designed for the purpose; without exceptional images, this can be a difficult process.

 

Finally, as we’ve mentioned on other blogs, imaging centers should be prepared to handle various types of remuneration and should have experience with workers’ compensation and letters of protection.

 

Precise Imaging offers dedicated tools for attorneys through a specialized HIPAA-compliant web portal, which provides 24/7 access to images, case details, and payment information. We’re dedicated to keeping patients comfortable, and with more than 70 facilities, we offer unequaled access to qualified imaging experts and state-of-the-art technology.

To learn more about Precise Imaging’s commitment to assisting in personal injury cases, or to refer a client today, call 800.558.2223. You can also make an online referral here.

 

References:

 

Goldberg AL, Kershah SM. Advances in Imaging of Vertebral and Spinal Cord Injury. The Journal of Spinal Cord Medicine. 2010;33(2):105-116. PMID: 20486529

 

Parizel PM, van der Zijden T, Gaudino S, et al. Trauma of the spine and spinal cord: imaging strategies. European Spine Journal. 2010;19(Suppl 1):8-17. doi:10.1007/s00586-009-1123-5.

 

Ellingson BM, Salamon N, Holly LT. Imaging Techniques in Spinal Cord Injury. World neurosurgery. 2014;82(6):1351-1358. doi:10.1016/j.wneu.2012.12.004.

 

https://www.bermansimmons.com/law-articles/medical-imaging-picture-worth-thousand-words

 

sports medicine diagnostic imaging

Diagnostic Imaging in The AMA’s Guides to the Evaluation of Permanent Impairment

Diagnostic Imaging in The AMA’s Guides to the Evaluation of Permanent Impairment

 

If you had to pick one book to be the authority on assessing personal damage in U.S. tort-civil law, you might choose The American Medical Association’s Guides to the Evaluation of Permanent Impairment (AMA Guides). Personal injury law is more complicated than a single book could encompass, of course, but to this day, many U.S. courts rely on the systems set forth in the AMA Guides to determine a “quantitative estimate of function losses” within a victim’s life. Many states use the AMA Guides to settle questions of workers’ compensation and disability claims.

 

The AMA Guides assessment can also be a powerful tool in a personal injury case.

 

Note that the types of losses evaluated in the Guides may lead to pecuniary and/or non-pecuniary damages. In the former category, the Guides systems might uncover a loss of earning capacity or, in cases of disability, the necessity of long-term care. The AMA’s Guides to the Evaluation of Permanent Impairment may also play into a claim of quality-of-life loss or limited ability due to the injury, both non-pecuniary damages.  

 

As we’ve mentioned in previous posts, diagnostic imaging can also occupy a major role in personal injury cases. So the question is: How do The AMA’s Guides to the Evaluation of Permanent Impairment implement diagnostic imaging as a factor in their determination systems? And which modalities most clearly demonstrate injury, according to the Guides?

 

Here are a few key facts about the intersection of diagnostic imaging and The AMA’s Guides to the Evaluation of Permanent Impairment that every personal injury attorney should know:

 

 

  • Diagnostic Imaging Studies are an Important Part of Injury Assessment in the AMA Guides to the Evaluation of Permanent Impairment

 

 

In assessing impairment or disability, as in health care itself, diagnostic imaging plays an outsized role. The AMA Guides present each body system in its own chapter, introducing principles of assessment for each system. In nearly every chapter, some form of diagnostic imaging appears in the Guides’ assessment criteria.

 

The results of all diagnostic studies — including imaging — must also be part of the physician’s report, according to the Guides.  

 

 

  • Imaging Modalities May Differ from One Edition to the Next

 

 

Editions matter. Depending which state you’re in, the worker’s compensation code may defer to the 6th and latest edition of the AMA Guides — or it might not. Some states use the 5th or even earlier editions, while others prefer state-specific criteria for evaluating injury, unrelated to the Guides. And while these codes relate specifically to worker’s compensation rather than personal injury cases, the court’s familiarity with a particular edition could add up to more compelling evidence of preventable injury and lasting impairment.  

 

Differences between editions complicate the evaluating physician’s choice of imaging modality. For instance, according to analysis from health care news site Medscape, methodology changes between the 5th and 6th editions of the Guides upend the rules for assessing impairment in a knee joint injury.

 

“No provision was made for ratings based on magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) or arthroscopic findings of cartilage pathology in the 5th edition of the Guides,” reports Medscape. “However, in the 6th edition of the Guides, there is provision for full-thickness articular cartilage defects, with a range of 5 to 9 percent impairment…MRI and arthroscopy are objective measures with accepted grading systems for cartilage lesions.”

 

So should an attorney ask the evaluating physician for an X-ray or an MRI scan in a knee-injury case? It may depend on which court tries the case.

 

 

  • Imaging Findings Alone are Not Enough

 

 

The 5th Edition of the AMA Guides makes the important point that the results of an imaging study alone aren’t enough to classify an injury as impairment or disability.

 

The purpose of an assessment using AMA Guides systems is to establish a diagnosis-related estimate, or DRE. DRE categories are a measure of the “impairment of the whole person,” expressed as a percentage range, with 0 percent impairment equating to no injury and 100 percent representing imminent mortality.

 

“To be of diagnostic value, clinical symptoms and signs must agree with the imaging findings,” the 5th edition AMA Guides claim. “In other words, an imaging test is useful to confirm a diagnosis, but an imaging result alone is insufficient to qualify for a DRE category.”

 

So where does all of this leave personal injury attorneys considering the inclusion of diagnostic imaging into a particular case? The key is to work as closely as possible with the client’s attending physician or, in some cases, a court-approved health care provider. In the medical setting, imaging is a crucial part of diagnosis, which is necessary for healing. In a court of law, radiographs and MRI scans are just as valuable — but for the very different purpose of assessing injury for a fair damage claim.

 

Interested attorneys can purchase a copy of The American Medical Association’s Guides to the Evaluation of Permanent Impairment at the AMA webstore, here. For more information on how Precise Imaging can help personal injury firms better serve their clients, see our Attorney Resources page, or contact us at 800-558-2223 today.      

MRI Scans for Personal Injury Lawsuits: 4 Things to Look for in a Provider

Personal injury attorneys rely on MRI scans and other types of diagnostic imaging to build their cases. But not every hospital or clinic has the experience, the infrastructure, and the staff to provide crucial evidence when you need it.

 

Precise Imaging specializes in working with legal professionals while providing their clients with friendly, patient-centered service. We provide a single point-of-contact for management of all your personal injury cases, no matter how many you have at a time. We also have a designated web portal specifically for attorneys.

 

When you look for a diagnostic imaging center to work with, here are a few of the benefits you should look for — all of which you can find at Precise Imaging:    

1. Patient-Centered Care

Diagnostic imaging built around the patient’s health and comfort is at the core of Precise Imaging practice. Our radiologists, technologists, and support staff are all trained to communicate warmly and with respect for the patient’s values and experience. We take cues, both verbal and nonverbal, and offer emotional support alongside physical comforts to ensure that patients can get back to their busy lives feeling good about the experience.

 

Patient satisfaction is always our goal. We understand that attorneys are motivated by their clients’ success because we feel the same.

2. Flexible and Convenient Scheduling

Speaking of patient satisfaction, market research suggests that patients list scheduling difficulty and waiting time for appointments as major issues in their choice of health care provider. We suspect that attorneys who make appointments for their clients would say much the same.  

 

With over 70 locations, Precise Imaging offers appointments for your clients when and where it’s convenient for them. We can even schedule same-day imaging. Our radiologists provide reports within 24 hours of a scan — and faster when requested. Precise Imaging has years of experience working with the legal community, and we pride ourselves on taking the stress off patients and their representatives both through flexible scheduling.

 

When a client is struggling with an injury and a legal case, it helps to keep one thing, at least, as simple as possible. Our scheduling process is quick, easy, and convenient, no matter who makes the call.

3. HIPAA-Compliant Online Access to Images

Once a scan is completed and the radiologist analyzes the results, we offer images in the format of your choice. We can put the images on a CD or other digital device, or we can simply make them available to you, 24/7, through our attorney web portal.

 

The portal complies with all HIPAA regulations, allowing patients, health care professionals, and attorneys access to the information they need when they need it. Our attorney portal offers a user-friendly interface designed to simplify the organization of complex legal data.

4. Medical Lien Payments and Letters of Protection

Of course, unexpected medical bills can be difficult to cover. Your clients shouldn’t worry about that while focusing on their cases. Precise Imaging accepts medical liens and letters of protection for personal injury to simplify patient finances during a trying time.

 

Precise Imaging offers a full suite of resources for attorneys. Find them here. And when you need MRI scans for personal injury lawsuits, contact Precise Imaging at 800-558-2223.

 

Understanding the Personal Injury Lien as Payment for Diagnostic Imaging

Personal injury liens help victims obtain medical treatment and stay afloat financially while their case is being decided. While this agreement entitles medical centers to repayment after a case has been settled, it can be greatly beneficial to attorneys and their clients as well.

 

Because many people cannot afford to pay major unforeseen medical bills, liens provide a lifeline until a settlement is reached, and attorneys benefit by ensuring that their clients get medical procedures and imaging completed in a timely manner. Still, there are a few things to consider when advising clients on this complicated subject.

 

The first thing to consider is what kind of experience the health care facility has with liens. Many smaller medical centers and imaging facilities don’t accept personal injury liens; others may have a poor history of working out reimbursements. While the client may not have a choice of their initial point of care, they can certainly choose where subsequent imaging is done.

 

And that medical imaging is important for not only the person’s future medical care, but also the outcome of their personal injury case.

Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) scans can make or break a case.

Some physicians are reluctant to order MRI scans for accident victims — they feel that the scanning technology is so good at detecting problems that it can reveal false positives through asymptomatic abnormalities. However, there are many reasons that American courts encourage MRI scans.

 

For one, an MRI scan is completely objective. While radiologists may have differing interpretations of the scans, the scans themselves cannot be manipulated to distort the truth. That makes for powerful evidence to a judge or jury. Seeing the results of negligence in a black and white scan trumps many other forms of evidence.

 

Furthermore, seeing clear evidence of an injury can increase the value of a claim. Injuries in the brain, spinal discs, nerves, and joints can be difficult to verify without this state-of-the-art imagery. An MRI shows what many other forms of imaging cannot, and that’s makes it invaluable to winning and maximizing personal injury lawsuits.

Of course, some patients may be reluctant to get MRI scans for a variety of reasons.

In these cases, victims of injury should be aware of how beneficial these scans can be for correct diagnosis and beginning recovery (not to mention, winning a case). Magnetic resonance allows doctors to pinpoint the source of an injury with the very latest technology available.

 

Some people hesitate to complete scans because of anxiety over claustrophobia. These fears are completely understandable, but there has been progress in recent years in making the technology more patient-friendly. For instance, open MRIs can help keep patients calm by eliminating the closed spaces that exist in traditional MRI machines. Even simple strategies, like prescribing an anti-anxiety medication or providing headphones with music can help anxious patients get through a scan.

Choosing an imaging center with personal injury experience can make the process easier for patients and attorneys.

The biggest reason is that facilities with experience offer a patient-centered focus and streamlined approach to accessing medical images. These facilities understand HIPAA regulations, know the preferred formats for images, and offer web portals for easy accessibility.

 

Using a single, preferred diagnostic company can also simplify caseloads for attorneys.

By relying on a trusted imaging center, firms know that crucial evidence is always just a click away — no matter what time of day. Attorneys can also trust that their clients are getting the best rates, so that injury victims can hold onto the lion’s share of their settlement.

 

Finding a diagnostic imaging center that can handle time-sensitive requests is also important. Many hospitals experience lengthy delays in scheduling scans. Because Precise Imaging has over 70 locations, we can schedule same-day scans. Even better, our radiologists will file reports no later than 48 hours after the scan (and sometimes much sooner). The quick scheduling and prompt reading allows personal injury cases to clear significant hurdles without taking up too much time.

Look for an imaging center with web portals for attorneys.

Because legal cases are time-sensitive, having a 24-7 web portal available is crucial. Precise Imaging provides such portals so that attorneys can access important information night or day. Our web portals provide medical images, payment information, and case details, all while fully complying with HIPAA regulations. This service keeps attorneys organized and on track without having to rely on the medical center being open for service.  

 

Our facilities are well-acquainted with the needs of personal injury lawyers, and our patient-centered facilities can comfort distraught patients who have recently suffered injuries. We offer a number of anxiety-reducing strategies to make our MRI scans as comfortable as possible.

 

We can schedule scans for the same day and get you results within 48 hours. All of the information an attorney or patient needs to access can be found on our 24-hour-per-day web portal. These services simplify a personal injury case and keep you on track.

 

We have partnered with patients and attorneys for thousands of personal injury cases and take our responsibilities to all parties seriously. We are prepared to accept all forms of payment, including workers’ comp, liens, and deferred payment (through a letter of protection).

 

Precise Imaging makes scans fast and easy for patients and provides streamlined results for attorneys. If you’d like to partner with Precise Imaging for your personal injury cases, call 800.558.2223 or make an online referral here.


References

 

7 Steps to Approaching Lien Claims in Personal Injury Cases.” FindLaw.com. n.d. Web. 3 May 2018.

 

Coye Law Firm. “What Is A Letter Of Protection? Learn More About The Pros And Cons Of Using A Letter Of Protection Or LOP.” HG.org n.d. Web. 3 May 2018.

 

Jacobson, Martin & Schweers, R. “Ethical Considerations in Personal Injury Settlements and Lien Resolution.” Bill of Particulars. Vol. 1 2012. Web. 3 May 2018.

 

Medical Liens: A Primer.” The Steve Dhillon Law Firm. n.d. Web. 3 May 2018.

 

Weiner, Ron “Lien vs. Subrogation.” MedLien Solutions. 3 Nov. 2015. Web. 3 May 2018.

 

Choosing Diagnostic Imaging Services for Personal Injury Cases

Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) scans can be crucial pieces of evidence in personal injury lawsuits. The detailed images can convince a jury or judge that an injury occurred as a result of an accident or negligence, rather than aging and genetics.

 

MRI scans are universally accepted by insurance companies and courts because of their objectivity and superiority to older forms of imaging, like X-ray. Different radiologists may have differing interpretations of the scans, but in general, the results of an MRI scan provide definitive evidence to a judge or jury.

 

Another great advantage of MRI scans is that they use no radiation, and thus are safer than alternative forms of medical imaging. Instead, MRI scans use powerful magnets to develop highly detailed scans of the body. These powerful magnets require special attention for those with pacemakers or other implanted devices, but scans can still be safely given to most cardiac patients.

 

Litigation MRI scans are helping everyone from injured motorists to football players with traumatic brain injuries. It’s this versatility that makes MRI scans the gold standard for determining medical history.

Unfortunately, MRI scanners at hospitals are expensive and in high-demand.

This may lead the doctor to prescribe rest for your client’s injury before signing off on an MRI scan. If you’d like to move your case along, we can help schedule an affordable and timely scan. Precise Imaging has years of experience and accepts cases on lien. Advantages of working with us include:

 

  1. Fast and easy scheduling – Call Precise Imaging at (800) 558-2223 or schedule an appointment online. We have over 70 locations, many open nights and weekends, to get your scans done quickly and professionally.
  2. A variety of delivery options – Obtain scans on compact discs or other secure media for reliable access. We’re experienced in handling potential evidence and same-day reporting is available in many locations.
  3. A range of imaging modalities – Whether you need dual-focus X-ray tubes or an open MRI machine, we’ve got you covered. For any type of medical imaging, we’ll harness our flexibility to get you the best images for your case.
  4. Our facilities are patient-focused – We know that patients who have suffered an injury are under stress and possibly in pain. Our highly trained techs will make sure patients are comfortable and stress-free as they undergo imaging.

 

Precise Imaging has served more than 150,000 patients throughout California, Nevada, and Arizona. Whether you’re an attorney or a patient, we can schedule an appointment at a convenient time and place. Call (800) 558-2223 or make an appointment online.

 

References

 

Cherniak, Todd. “Litigation MRI: Why Lawyers Are Asking for It and Why Your Patients Need It.” British Columbia Medical Journal. Vol. 47, No. 7. Sept. 2005. Pp 358-361.

 

Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) Safety.” RadiologyInfo.org. 5 Apr. 2017. Web. 1 May 2018.

 

MRI is Safe for Most People with Pacemakers and Defibrillators.” Harvard Health Publishing. Harvard Medical School. Jan. 2018. Web. 1 May 2018.

 

Brown, Francis H. “Recent Developments in Traumatic Brain Injury Litigation.” American Bar Association. 12 Sept. 2016. Web. 1 May 2018.

mri healthcare

How Independent Imaging Centers Contribute to Value-Based Medicine

 

 

As evidence-based medicine (EBM) evolved into value-based medicine (VBM) — the “practice of medicine based upon the patient-perceived value conferred by an intervention,” as Jong-Myon Bae defined it in the journal Epidemiology and Health — many referring physicians began to wonder about their choice of imaging providers.

 

Hospital-affiliated doctors can simply send a patient to the basement for an MRI or an ultrasound. But does this practice really contribute to a patient-centered model of care like VBM? Could physicians attain reliable diagnostic imaging at a reduced price for their patients, thereby balancing the outcome-to-cost ratio?

 

The answer is, resoundingly, yes. The reason? Independent imaging centers.

 

The price of an MRI at a freestanding clinic is often thousands of dollars less than the same scan, with the same outcomes, performed at a hospital. There are a few reasons for this — hospitals subsidize revenue-losing departments through radiology, and they’re less vulnerable to market-driven competition — but suffice it to say, freestanding imaging centers provide the same service as hospitals at a fraction of the price.

 

In August of 2016, the European Society of Radiology’s Working Group on Value-Based Imaging began its work investigating how radiology could better take part in the VBM model of patient care. Among the Working Group’s findings:

 

  • The VBM model, as currently practiced, leaves diagnostic imaging out of the equation. Practitioners measure the success of value-based outcomes starting with treatment — which, notably, cannot begin until the radiologist has completed her role in an accurate diagnosis.

 

  • In fact, a traditional VBM approach only factors in diagnosis when it is incorrect, or when it causes complications. This bias neglects the value a patient places in a correct diagnosis, which is, the first in a string of health outcomes that truly matters to the patient and his family.

 

  • In order to fold radiology the VBM paradigm, imaging providers should measure and improve five process steps in their work: Determining whether the referral is appropriate, protecting patients from radiation, producing radiology reports that are entirely accurate and easy to understand, maintaining excellent relationships between patients and the provider’s entire staff, and continuing education and innovation in the field.

 

Regarding that last point — arguably the Working Group’s greatest revelation — note that freestanding imaging providers are often at the forefront of these five process steps. In a marketplace glutted with competition, no imaging provider can afford to fall behind in the quality of care they offer patients. And, as previously noted, freestanding imaging centers offer this care at a much lower price-point than traditional hospital-based radiology departments. Often, they employ the exact same radiologists as the hospitals, and operate identical equipment.

 

A true reckoning of value-based medicine starts with making the right diagnosis, and that often depends on great radiology. Independent imaging centers offer that level of quality at a lower price. Therefore, they are valuable partners in value-based care.

 

If you’re a referring physician, the patient-centered approach is to talk to patients about their choice of diagnostic imaging providers. Often, the freestanding clinic leads to better outcome-to-cost ratios, which lie at the heart of value-based medicine.  

 

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