sports medicine diagnostic imaging

Diagnostic Imaging for Sport and Exercise Medicine (SEM) Specialists

Diagnostic Imaging for Sport and Exercise Medicine (SEM) Specialists


Sports physicians and radiologists work together to quickly diagnose and treat the musculoskeletal injuries associated with frequent physical exertion. Still, sport and exercise medicine (SEM) remains a young specialty — it wasn’t until 2005 that the United Kingdom’s Department of Health granted SEM official specialty status.


So it’s a good time to ask the question, both of sports physicians and radiologists themselves: How can this close working relationship improve as both specialties develop? What exactly do sports physicians need from their diagnostic imaging providers, and how can those providers tweak their processes to work better with SEM specialists and their patients?


Here are a few thoughts, culled from the extant literature:

  1. Help provide actionable images to help decide when it’s safe for athletes to return to the field
  2. Assist with screening efforts and pre-play assessments;
  3. And they can provide “technical assistance with certain procedures.


Diagnostic imaging providers have much more to offer SEM physicians than confirmation of a given diagnosis.



According to I. McCurdie, FRCP, FFSEM(UK), writing in the British Journal of Radiology in 2012, “confirmation of accurate diagnosis” is only the first area in which radiologists can support sports physicians. They can also:


Sports physicians, in other words, need access to imaging providers who can respond to a wide range of needs. It makes sense for an SEM specialist to create relationships with established, trustworthy networks of imaging providers like Precise Imaging. With the range of expertise, simple systems for billing and referral, and an online portal just for physicians, Precise Imaging can respond to the immediate needs of SEM specialists and their patients.


Elite athletes often need incredibly quick turnaround on radiology reports.


When high-level athletes get injured, their managers want them back on the field as soon as it’s safe. Team physicians typically don’t have time to wait for a several-day turnaround to get their radiology reports.


Radiologists must be physically present, at imaging facilities or even on the field, in order to produce accurate reports a quickly as possible. Precise Imaging radiologists always work on-site at their facilities, and they average a turnaround of 24 hours, with available same-day referral service.



Sports physicians require access to multiple imaging modalities from the same provider.



“The range of pathologies and different tissues injured during sport and exercise determine the imaging modalities used,” writes McCurdie. “With soft-tissue injuries being common, the opportunity to image with ultrasound during functional movements (often as an extension of the clinical examination) and avoid any exposure to irradiation makes this a very useful tool.”


At the same time, MRI scans reveal soft-tissue injuries and have been successfully used to diagnose muscle damage accurately. Still, many physicians prefer to begin diagnostic imaging efforts with radiography.


“Plain X-ray should still generally be the first imaging technique,” wrote John Orchard et. al in the Medical Journal of Australia in 2005. In that article, “The use of diagnostic imaging in sports medicine,” Orchard and the other authors pointed out a few exceptions to the guideline of defaulting to X-ray.


“Exceptions include some forms of superficial tendinopathy, in which ultrasound may be more appropriate, and situations where radiation exposure is contraindicated, such as in a pregnant patient,” they wrote.


Precise Imaging locations offer multiple imaging modalities, often with a full range of options for each. So patients with musculoskeletal injuries associated with sports and exercise can visit a single outpatient clinic for ultrasound, X-ray, MRI, and/or CT scans, all with simple, convenient scheduling.



While all imaging modalities have their uses in sports medicine, MRI scans are sometimes crucial for the diagnosis of one of the most common knee injuries in sports: the ACL tear.



Klass et al. point out that MRI scans are a central component to care for patients with chronic knee conditions. In their literature review, though, the authors found that MRI was increasingly paying dividends in cases of acute injury, particularly a tear in the anterior cruciate ligament (ACL).  

Of course, physicians can often diagnose ACL injuries without the use of MRI technology. However, Klass and colleagues conclude, “It should be realised that significant advances are being made, and that there may be an increasing use of MRI in the management of the acutely injured knee which will include rupture of the ACL.”


Precise Imaging for Patients of SEM Specialists


SEM physicians and their patients benefit from diagnostic imaging facilities that:   


  1. Are capable of multiple imaging modalities;
  2. Remain available for expanded hours, including weekends and evenings;
  3. Offer quick, simple scheduling, including same-day service and ride assistance;
  4. Employ radiologists with experience in musculoskeletal injuries associated with sports and exercise, who carry full board certification, and who work on-site at the place of testing;
  5. Are able to handle a variety of payment types, including insurance, Medicaid and Medicare, personal injury liens, and even low cash options for uninsured patients;
  6. Operate large networks of outpatient clinics, ensuring availability and flexible scheduling.


Patients under the care of an SEM specialist will benefit from the friendly and efficient service of the Precise Imaging team. If you’re a referring physician and you’re looking for a new imaging partner to help with a sports and exercise medicine practice, contact Precise Imaging at 800-558-2223 today.




Cullen M, Batt M. Sport and exercise medicine in the United Kingdom comes of age. British Journal of Sports Medicine. 2005;39(5):250-251. doi:10.1136/bjsm.2005.019307


Gibbs NJ, Cross T, Cameron M, Houang MT. The accuracy of MRI in predicting recovery and recurrence of acute grade one hamstring muscle strains within the same season in Australian Rules football players. Journal of Science and Medicine in Sport. 2004;7(2):248-258. [PubMed]  


Klass, D et al. MR imaging of acute anterior cruciate ligament injuries. The Knee. 2007;14(5):339-347. doi:10.1016/j.knee.2007.04.008


McCrory P. What is sports and exercise medicine? British Journal of Sports Medicine. 2006;40(12):955-957. [PubMed]


McCurdie I. Imaging in sport and exercise medicine: “a sports physician’s outlook and needs.” The British Journal of Radiology. 2012;85(1016):1198-1200. doi:10.1259/bjr/14729770


Orchard, J, Read J, Anderson I(J)F. The use of diagnostic imaging in sports medicine. The Medical Journal of Australia. 2005;183(9):482-486. Available from:

No health Insurance

Diagnostic Imaging Referrals for Uninsured Patients

What should physicians do when they suspect a patient needs an expensive diagnostic imaging procedure, but they also know that patient lacks health insurance, or has an inadequate plan? How do they weigh financial considerations against crucial diagnostic information?


As physicians, you balance a huge number of variables in deciding which diagnostic imaging procedures to order for your patients. You must weigh radiation exposure versus probability of actionable images, for instance, or decide whether a patient needs an X-ray, an MRI, or both.


And like it or not, every decision a referring physician makes will have an impact on the patient’s final bill — which becomes problematic, both ethically and medically, given the role financial stress plays in negative health outcomes such as depression.


Lack of Health Insurance and Frequency of Diagnostic Imaging


Here’s what we do know, at least as of the 2012 publication of this study from the Journal of the American College of Radiology: Uninsured Americans received fewer imaging procedures in emergency departments than insured patients. In a sense, this is unsurprising; Americans without health insurance generally receive less health care overall.


What we don’t know is what to do about it. Should we order less imaging for insured patients, or more for uninsured patients? We won’t really know until we can measure the outcomes of uninsured patients who receive equal care. To do that, we must find a way to provide truly affordable diagnostic imaging for all patients. That’s where Precise Imaging can help.  


How Physicians Can Reduce the Financial Impact of Imaging on Patients


The ideal situation would be for physicians to have access to imaging centers that offer a full and flexible range of payment options along with the highest-quality service, simple scheduling, and fast results. That’s exactly the combination that Precise Imaging offers to referring physicians.


Precise Imaging operates 70+ locations with evening and weekend hours, so your patients can always find a time and a place that suits them. If transportation is a problem, Precise Imaging can send a car for free. And with same-day scheduling and a 24-hour average turnaround on reports, you’ll have the information you need without delay.


But the real issue for uninsured patients is the financial burden. That’s why Precise Imaging’s experienced billing team is trained and authorized to handle an incredible variety of payment options. For personal injury cases, they can accept liens. If workers’ compensation is involved, that’s no problem.


Precise Imaging even offers special cash prices for uninsured or underinsured patients. Friendly billing staff can also work with payors to establish structured payment plans. These options can create powerful discounts for patients in need, and might be just the assurance that you need to order a procedure you’re on the fence about.


Financial considerations shouldn’t have any place in patient care, but, unfortunately, they are real, and must be considered. Next time you’re weighing the options for an uninsured patient, remember that Precise Imaging can help. Call Precise Imaging at 800-558-2223 to learn more about cash prices for uninsured patients.    




Moser, James and Kimberly Applegate. “Imaging and Insurance: Do the Uninsured Get Less Imaging in Emergency Departments?JACR. Journal of the American College of Radiology, Jan. 2012. Web. 29 Sept. 2017.


Galea, Sandro et. al. “Urban Neighborhood Poverty and the Incidence of Depression in a Population-Based Cohort Study.” ScienceDirect. Annals of Epidemiology, Mar. 2007. Web. 29 Sept. 2017.


Personal Injury Attorneys and Diagnostic Imaging: A Patient-Centered Approach

Personal injury cases often hinge on great diagnostic imaging, and attorneys can benefit from referring their patients to a provider with experience in the field. While injured patients are free to schedule an MRI or X-ray at a hospital or random imaging center, cases flow much more smoothly when attorneys and their clients choose providers that know how to best assist in the case, while providing excellent, patient-centered care. Here are a few reasons personal injury attorneys should stick to a single preferred provider for diagnostic imaging:


Patients might need to pay for diagnostic imaging with a personal injury lien.


Many medical providers aren’t equipped to handle lien payments. When attorneys and clients agree on an imaging provider prior to injury, they can choose a company that has long years of experience handling personal injury cases, including lien payments — that is, a company like Precise Imaging.


Attorneys often need diagnostic imaging results quickly.


Hospitals sometimes experience lengthy delays before they can schedule a diagnostic imaging procedure. Then, when the procedure is complete, staff radiologists might take days to complete the radiology report. Meanwhile, case deadlines can come and go.


Precise Imaging offers same-day scheduling and quick turnaround times for reports. Radiologists file their reports within 48 hours of the procedure, and usually much sooner, often within just 24 hours.

Not all imaging centers are prepared for letters of protection.


For personal injury cases involving a letter of protection, it’s important to choose an imaging provider that has experience with this legal tool. Precise Imaging has partnered with patients and their attorneys for thousands of personal injury cases, and accepts every type of remuneration, including workers’ compensation, liens, and deferred payment based on a letter of protection.    


Attorneys can simplify client care with a preferred diagnostic imaging provider.


With Precise Imaging for personal injury cases, a single phone call gives attorneys everything they need to win in court. In fact, attorneys never need to pick up the phone to get help for their clients. A specialized attorney web portal provides images, payment information, and case details with full HIPAA compliance. It’s available 24/7, and so is the IT support that ensures everything runs smoothly.


Clients will appreciate the friendly, professional service they receive at any of Precise Imaging’s 70+ locations. They’ll also love the simple scheduling, with evening and weekend appointments available. Attorneys, on the other hand, will find a streamlined approach that simplifies personal injury cases while providing medical details that win in court.


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.

10 MRI Technologists’ Rules for MRI Safety

5 Sep 2017 MRI ,

Technologists, radiologists, and facility staff all work hard to ensure MRI safety for every patient they treat. Still, some patients get nervous at the prospect of having their first-ever MRI scan.


Really, diagnostic imaging’s reputation for risk comes from X-rays, which expose patients to a minimal amount of ionizing radiation. Despite this, X-rays are generally safe — and if a doctor orders an imaging procedure, the patient should always comply. Medical professionals weigh the risk versus the benefit before ordering any intervention.


But X-rays are one thing. MRI scans don’t expose patients to any radiation at all. They’re extremely safe. The machinery can be intimidating — people don’t tend to relish the idea of sliding into a narrow tube that looks like something out of a Star Trek episode — but the scan itself is harmless, and the resulting images save lives every day.


If you or a loved one are about to get your first MRI scan, and you’re feeling nervous about it, we thought a few safety rules that your technologists and radiologists will follow will make you feel better. Health care professionals are trained to keep patients safe above all else, and they make sure to minimize the already-infinitesimal risks involved with MRI scans by observing important safety rules. Here are a few of the practices that imaging professionals will use to keep you safe and comfortable during your MRI scan:


  1. They will ensure that you don’t have any metal devices or implants on your person.


MRI scans create a strong magnetic field around the patient. That’s not dangerous in itself, but it does become important to ensure that no ferromagnetic metals enter the scanning room. Even nonmagnetic metals can interfere with the magnetic field, or heat up and cause burns. Facility staff screen patients for any type of metal, including that found in medical implants such as aneurysm clips.


  1. If you do have implanted medical devices, they will insure that they are safe for the scan before you get anywhere near the imaging suite.


Medical implants are designated as MR Conditional, MR Safe, or MR Unsafe. Your health team will check the rating of any medical implants you have, compare the specs to those of the scanner they’ll be using, and determine whether the scan is safe to proceed.


  1. They will double-check every object that enters the scan room for MRI safety.


The working assumption is that anything imaging staff don’t have a record of is MR Unsafe. The screening process can be quite involved, but it’s also fairly quick.


  1. They will ask you to change out of your clothes and into a facility-provided, MR-safe gown.


Even the small amount of metal embedded in many items of clothing can heat up dangerously, or disrupt scans. The safest option is to ask patients to change into an MR-safe gown.


  1. They will help you lie in the MRI machine in a way that avoids skin-to-skin contact.


MRI scanners use blasts of electromagnetic radiofrequency waves to create images of the body. This energy is generally safe, although if patients maintain skin-to-skin contact during the scan, they could create a conducting circuit at the point of contact. Current might heat up the skin, causing burns. That’s why MRI technicians are always careful to help patients find a comfortable posture that doesn’t involve any skin-to-skin contact. They may provide insulating pads for this purpose.



  1. They will route all equipment cables straight outwards from the machine, and won’t allow them to touch each other or the patient.


Imaging technicians are extremely careful with all electrically conductive materials, including cables that are part of the scanning process. Cables that are too close to another conductor — including the patient’s skin — can transfer energy through capacitive coupling, so staff route cables very carefully.


  1. They will provide padding and blankets that are certified MRI-safe.


Patient comfort is second only to patient safety. Still, it’s important to ensure that everything entering the MRI suite is MR-safe. Imaging facilities stock comfortable blankets and nonconductive padding to ensure patient comfort during the scan.  


  1. They will always use the lowest amount of radiofrequency power sufficient to obtain a clear image — a measurement known as the Specific Absorption Rate, or SAR.


The SAR is a measurement of radiofrequency energy that passes through the patient’s body during an MRI scan. Higher levels can cause electrical conduction in the patient’s tissues, causing heat. If this goes on long enough, it can lead to burns. However, technologists always use the lowest possible SAR for a given scan, generally preventing dangerous warming.


  1. They will remain in constant communication with patients throughout the entire scan.


The most powerful tool to prevent injury during MRI scans is patient self-reporting. Technologists keep lines of communication open with patients throughout the entire process. That way, if a patient starts to feel uncomfortable, or feels skin heating up, they can report to the technologist, who will halt the scan until they address the situation.


  1. They will monitor patients during the scan with video and audio signals inside the machine’s bore.


Imaging staff won’t just wait for patients to tell them if they experience discomfort. They also carefully monitor their patients, watching for signs of distress. At the first sign of concern, technologists will pause the scan and make sure the patient’s safe and comfortable.


MRI Safety Along Every Dimension


These safety rules come courtesy of the U.S. Food and Drug Administration and the Section for Magnetic Resonance Technologists. This ensures that each tip has been tested, retested, and verified before being added to the list of best practices. The FDA and the SMRT both follow evidence-based science to make their recommendations.


Of course, there is one hazard to a diagnostic imaging procedure that neither the FDA nor SMRT can prevent: Overcharging. Hospitals often charge exorbitant fees for MRI scans.


Luckily, the FDA and SMRT aren’t the only ones looking out for patients. Independent imaging centers, such as those in the network, commit themselves to offering the highest-quality MRI scans at the lowest-possible prices. They are able to do this because they are specialists; hospitals have to create enough revenue to cover enormous facilities, multiple specialized departments, and hundreds or even thousands of employees.


The diagnostic imaging centers you’ll find on follow lean business practices to keep prices to an absolute minimum. At the same time, they only employ certified, industry-leading radiologists — the same ones hospitals use — and state-of-the-art equipment. It’s a high initial expense, but once the newest, best MRI scanner is installed in a facility, facilities are able to stay solvent through the steady stream of business that comes from quick, convenient appointments, doctor-preferred results, and excellent patient care.


Trust your technicians and radiologists to keep you safe during your next MRI scan. And trust to get you the lowest price you’ll find, along with a convenient location and a time of your choosing — even on evenings and weekends, if you prefer.


Contact at 888-322-7785 to make your appointment today.




Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) Safety.RadiologyInfo. Radiological Society of North America, Inc., 5 Apr. 2017. Web. 1 Sept. 2017.


Magnetic Resonance Imaging: Tips for Scanning Patients with Implants.FDA. U.S. Food and Drug Administration, Section for Magnetic Resonance Technologists, n.d. PDF. 1 Sept. 2017.


MRI Burn Prevention: Tips for Keeping Patients Safe.” FDA. U.S. Food and Drug Administration, Section for Magnetic Resonance Technologists, n.d. PDF. 1 Sept. 2017.

Precise Imaging Accepts Medicare

21 Jul 2017 Health Care, Medical, MRI

Precise Imaging Accepts Medicare for Diagnostic Imaging Procedures


Refer your Medicare patients to Precise Imaging with full confidence — we accept Medicare payments for diagnostic imaging procedures.


When you order an MRI, CT an X-ray, your patients have a right to know if the procedure is covered under Medicare. With Precise Imaging, know that when patients ask about this coverage, the answer is always, “Yes.”


Every physician encounters Medicare patients. The program is vast, as evidenced by these statistics from the Kaiser Family Foundation and the AARP:


  • As of 2015, the last year for which data is available, more than 55 million Americans received Medicare benefits.
  • Medicare beneficiaries make up more than 15 percent of the total U.S. population.


  • The AARP estimates that the program will provide benefits for nearly 80 million Americans by 2030.


By knowing which facilities accept Medicare before referring patients, doctors can help to keep medical costs manageable. They can also save time during visits by eliminating last-minute research.


Make an online referral through our HIPAA-compliant form, or sign into the Physician’s Web Portal to begin. Precise Imaging staff will take it from there. We obtain authorizations, work with your patient to schedule a convenient appointment, and communicate directly with insurers to arrange billing. All the physician has to do is make the referral and study the results.


For more information, or to refer a patient today, call Precise Imaging at 800-558-2223.


What Patients Should Know About Medicare and Diagnostic Imaging


Not all independent imaging centers accept Medicare payments. While the last thing you want to think about when you’re injured is the medical bill, it pays to ask if any procedure is covered under the program.


Precise Imaging maintains ongoing relationships with most major insurers, including Medicare, to make payments hassle-free for all involved. Our staff handles the billing and subsequent paperwork, so patients don’t have to navigate the complex world of health care spending on their own.


Whether you’re a referring doctor or a patient with Medicare coverage, contact Precise Imaging to schedule a convenient, comfortable, and highly accurate imaging procedure.


Does Medicare Cover Your MRI, CT Scan, or X-Ray?


Medicare Part B covers a comprehensive range of “medically necessary services,” as well as some preventative care. These services may include:


  • Diagnostic lab procedures, such as blood tests and biopsies.


  • Diagnostic imaging procedures, such as MRI, X-ray, and ultrasound scans.


  • Reusable medical equipment.


  • Some prescription drugs.


  • Mental health treatment, both inpatient and outpatient.


Diagnostic imaging procedures are generally considered “medically necessary” when a doctor orders them, so they are usually covered by Medicare. Everyone with Part B should be covered, as long as they choose an eligible provider.


All of Precise Imaging’s 70+ locations accept Medicare, so call us at 800-558-2223 to discuss your case or to schedule an appointment today.


How Hospitals Determine the Price of an MRI—and Why Clinics Can Charge Less

How Hospitals Determine the Price of an MRI—and Why Clinics Can Charge Less


When your doctor orders an MRI, should you stay within the hospital system or find an independant imaging center?


If you want to pay less, you’re better off with the latter.


You’d expect a similar procedure to have a similar cost, no matter who your provider is. In fact, the price of an MRI might vary wildly, even within the same small region — and even when funded by the same insurance plan. For instance, a 2014 report from medical-claim analysts at Change Healthcare found that the insurer’s in-network price for an MRI ranged between $511 and $2,815.


Not much has changed since 2014. The latest figures from financial-planning site Bankrate report a general range of MRI costs between $400 and $3,500. That’s a $3,100 spread for the exact same procedure.


“Imaging bills typically run two to three times higher at hospitals than at freestanding radiology centers,” reports Money. But what’s the rationale for this tremendous difference in price, especially since clinics often use the exact same equipment and radiologists as hospitals?   


To find out, we’ll have to go a little deeper into the complex world of health care pricing for hospitals.


Calculating Prices for MRI Scans at Full-Service Hospitals: DRG Basics


While hospitals follow different pricing schedules, every operation works to ensure profitability of these things called diagnosis-related groups, or DRGs.


DRGs are specific codes covering treatment for common conditions. That is, they gather all the discrete medical interventions for a particular diagnosis into a single, calculable “product.” They’re important for hospital balance sheets because Medicare decides what it will pay for care according to each of these codes — and hospitals can mark up their prices from there.


For instance, if you were to have an appendectomy, the hospital might add the costs for your imaging, surgery, aftercare, and drug/equipment usage into a single cost under the assigned DRG code. If you were on Medicare, there would already be a pre-set price for the entire set of procedures. If an insurance company pays for the services, though — or an individual — hospitals determine their own rates for those DRGs. That’s where things get even more complicated.

Estimating Radiology Department Costs in Order to Set Charges

The typical model that hospitals have used to figure out how much to charge for a given DRG service is called the ratio of cost-to-charge (RCC). The RCC figure divides the hospital’s total costs by the amount they charge the payer. The resulting ratio describes the hospital’s ability to turn a profit. The lower the RCC, the more profit for the hospital.


So, the RCC approach became the standard method used to figure out how much to charge patients. The problem is, while RCC calculations are very accurate and reliable for grouped charges, such as DRGs, they’re notoriously off-base when it comes to individual services, such as those offered by radiology departments.


Forward-thinking hospitals slowly began to change their methods of determining charges, a process that inevitably begins with figuring out total costs per procedure. Here’s an example of another approach, provided by David W. Young in the journal Healthcare Financial Management:


Young divides costs hospitals must pay for an MRI scan into three categories:


  1. Direct costs include the obvious hospital expenses; salaries for staff, medical supplies, and depreciation of machinery.


  1. Departmental costs cover the salaries of administrators.


  1. Allocated costs flow down from the hospital administration; they’re comprised of the estimated value of maintenance and janitorial services for the radiology department.


Once administrators figure out these costs for an MRI scan, they add them together, then divide by the number of MRI scans in a given period; this gives them a total estimated cost for the procedure on its own.


Of course, if that cost should prove higher than Medicare, they will still only be paid the official price set by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMM). That’s one of the reasons some hospitals mark up their Medicare prices by up to 1,000 percent for insurance companies or cash payers; they argue they’re making up for expenses left uncovered by government programs.  


MRI Scans: Determining Individual Charges from Cost Estimates


Once administrators calculate the cost of an MRI, all that’s left is to apply the markup and start issuing bills. So what determines a hospital’s markup over cost on an MRI, or any service for that matter?


Just about anything. Possibly nothing. It’s the mystery at the heart of the U.S. health care system. Only two states, Maryland and West Virginia, set top rates for hospitals. Everywhere else, health care providers can charge whatever they want—and they do.


A 2015 study in the journal Health Affairs studied markups at U.S. hospitals. The average markup among most hospitals in the nation was 340 percent. Among the 50 hospitals with the highest markups, that number was over 1,000 percent. The hospital at the top of the list marked up procedures 1,260 times the CMM charge.


Radiology departments are particularly vulnerable to enormous markups. Brian Keigley, who founded the consumer group New Choice Health, told Money that “radiology is often subsidizing other service lines.”


For instance, if an emergency department at a major metropolitan hospital loses money, administrators might raise the price on MRIs to make up the difference. This brings us to why freestanding imaging facilities can charge so much less per procedure.  


Keeping Costs Low at Medical Imaging Clinics


Hospitals can mark up their costs for an MRI as much as they want. There are no regulations to control medical pricing in most states, and being part of a hospital system keeps patients flowing regularly through the radiology department.


Ultimately, hospitals are sheltered from price-controlling market forces by obscure charges, patient vulnerability, intra-institutional referrals, and, often, non-profit status.  


Meanwhile, freestanding imaging clinics must compete with the facility down the street. There’s a distinct incentive for Company A to offer low-price MRIs without sacrificing quality. Remember: They’re also competing with hospitals, which usually get the first shot at any patient’s business.


Plus, imaging clinics don’t have to cover for underperforming departments. They provide MRIs and X-rays; their radiologists write reports; they do what they do and that’s it. With a more focused business model, these companies are much more free to reduce margins in order to thrive through sheer patient volume.


The result is good for patients and their care. Clinics offer simpler, more flexible scheduling. They can focus on patient care rather than cope with the complexities of an enormous organization. They charge much, much less than hospitals for an MRI.


In short, it pays to do a little shopping around when your doctor orders an MRI. Whatever you do, don’t march down the hall to the hospital radiology department without having a conversation about pricing.  




Ashford, Kate. “What I Learned When I Asked How Much My MRI Would Cost.Forbes. Forbes Media LLC, 31 Oct. 2014. Web. 1 July 2017.   

Deleon, Maya. “Need an MRI? Here’s what it will cost.Bankrate. Bankrate, LLC, 23 June 2017. Web. 1 July 2017.


Gengler, Amanda. “How to Get the Same Health Care at a Quarter of the Cost.Money. Time, Inc., 16 July 2014. Web. 1 July 2017.


Glover, Lacie. “Why Does an MRI Cost So Darn Much?Money. Time, Inc., 16 July 2014. Web. 1 July 2017.  

Potter, Wendell. “Why Hospitals Mark Up Prices by 1,000 Percent.Newsweek. Newsweek, LLC, 15 June 2015. Web. 1 July 2017.     

Reinhardt, Uwe. “How Do Hospitals Get Paid? A Primer.NYTimes. The New York Times Company, 23 Jan 2009. Web. 1 July 2017.


Schwartz, M, DW Young and R Siegrist. “The ratio of costs to charges: how good a basis for estimating costs?NCBI. U.S. National Library of Medicine, 1996. Web. 1 July 2017.


Young, David W. “What Does an MRI Scan Cost?” Healthcare Financial Management, no. 11, 2015, p. 46. EBSCOhost, 1 July 2017.


Types of Medical Liens for Personal Injury Claims

Medical liens offer a simple and convenient way for patients to receive medical services well before paying. That’s the good news. The bad news is that, if another organization pays for your health care following an injury — and then you win a lawsuit — you’ll probably have to pay your benefactor back out of the settlement.

States set laws on eligibility for liens, so you’ll definitely want to talk to a local attorney to see if there could be liens on a personal injury settlement. Generally, though, liens can be categorized by the institution that actually pays for health care following an injury. Here are the possible holders of medical liens to ask about when you win a personal injury case:

  1. Health Care ProvidersSome hospitals, doctors, and independent clinics accept payment on a lien basis. If you have the luxury of forethought, talk to your attorney; they probably have some great providers they already work with.

    Some hospitals might ask you to sign a Letter of Protection, which guarantees their right to payment out of the eventual settlement. Still, paying out of your settlement is a much better alternative to paying out-of-pocket.

  2. Health Insurance CompaniesInsurers usually expect to get paid back for any medical expenses you’ve incurred if you win a handsome settlement in court. There’s probably a clause in your policy that gives the insurer a right to place a lien on that settlement.

    One option to sidestep a payout to your insurance company is to find a facility that offers cash pricing before you receive treatment. Providers and patients alone negotiate a cash price, which is typically much, much lower than what your insurance company has to pay. For low cash prices on all diagnostic imaging procedures, with or without a lien, call at 888-322-7785.

  3. Government Agencies and ProgramsLiens from Medicaid, Medicare, and the Veteran’s Administration must be paid back before liens from other parties. That’s why they’re called “super liens.” If you any of these institutions paid for your medical care, talk to an attorney about how these liens will affect your settlement.

    Again, if you’re in a position to choose, you can always choose a diagnostic imaging facility that accepts cash payments to avoid incurring a super lien.

  4. Workers’ Compensation BenefitsIf worker’s compensation pays for your health care, and your lawsuit is with your employer, it’s unlikely that they’ll place a lien on the settlement. However, if you sue a third party involved in an injury, and workers’ compensation pays for your care, they probably will issue a lien on any final payout.

    Luckily, many states limit workers’ compensation liens to just two-thirds the value of the actual medical expense. Still, it’s always a good idea to ask health care providers about the possibility of cash pricing when possible.

As in all health care spending, choosing affordable providers will keep more money in your pocket. When you’ve been wrongfully injured, you’re not always in a position to choose your place of treatment, but if you are, inquire about cash pricing to avoid more expensive liens from third-party payers.

Give us a call if we can assist you with your medical lien MRIat 800-558-2223

Are all radiologist and reports the same?

2 May 2017 MRI

In Los Angeles, MRI prices vary considerably, but so can the quality of the reports that radiologists generate from diagnostic imaging procedures. So how do you know one radiologist is “better” than another?

There are a few telltale signs you can look for. There are also questions you can ask. Finding the right radiologist can mean the difference between a missed diagnosis or a false positive and accurate, actionable information that can improve your health with a minimum of side effects. Here’s what you need to know when you’re choosing a radiologist in the complex medical landscape of Los Angeles.

Understanding Radiology to find the Best Radiologists in LA

Radiology is a highly specialized medical field that uses a variety of imaging modalities to diagnose and treat injuries and health conditions. Radiologists study major forms of medical imaging, including:

  • MRI
  • X-ray
  • Arthrogram
  • Ultrasound
  • CAT Scan
  • PET Scan
  • Mammogram

Radiologists write up the results of their studies in detailed radiology reports. These reports themselves can differ considerably from one radiologist to another; in essence, a “good” radiologist is one who avoids listing false positives in their reports, while catching any abnormality that could indicate a greater health concern.

According to Saurabh Jha, MD, associate editor of the Health Care Blog, radiology reports can be understood on a continuum between two extremes: sensitivity and specificity.

A highly sensitive radiologist will write long, detailed radiology reports that include every potential pathology, even those that don’t seem likely to lead to health problems. Highly specific radiologists, on the other hand, write brief, clear, and targeted reports that accurately recognize obvious pathologies, but sometimes miss more subtle indications of health threats.

Which is better, Jha asks? Sensitive radiologists order unnecessary follow-up reports, but rarely miss a diagnosis. Specific radiologists don’t generate false positives, but they also don’t catch everything.

The best radiologists in Los Angeles find a sweet-spot between sensitivity and specificity; this requires long years of training and lots of good, old-fashioned on-the-job experience. Luckily, there is a simple way to determine whether a prospective radiologist is likely to have the experience necessary to generate accurate reports that don’t go overboard on irrelevant details: Board Certification.

Board Certification for Radiologists in Los Angeles

In California as around the United States, radiologists can achieve certification from two leaders in the field: The American Board of Radiology and the American Osteopathic Board of Radiology. Certification with either of these institutions indicates “a high level of training, and demonstrated excellence in the field,” according to the American College of Radiology.

Which institution grants certification depends on the radiologist’s specialty; radiologists are licensed as either medical doctors (MD) or doctors of osteopathic medicine (DO). The former obtains certification from the American Board of Radiology, while the latter applies for this honor with the American Osteopathic Board of radiology.

Certification with either group tells colleagues and patients a few important things:

  1. Board Certification is a voluntary credential. Radiologists only need to have a medical license to practice, so certification represents an extra level of devotion to excellence in the field.
  2. In order to maintain Board Certification, applicants must accrue many hours of ongoing education, ensuring that certified radiologists stay up to date on advances in the science.
  3. Requirements for Board Certification are developed by radiology leaders and are continually re-assessed and validated by external auditors.
  4. The certification process takes subspecialties into account, helping radiologists, their peers, and patients maintain confidence in highly specialized areas of health care.

At Precise Imaging, all radiologists on staff are required to maintain up-to-date Board Certification. All of our staff are highly trained, well-experienced professionals who provide the finest medical imaging services in the Los Angeles area, all for a lower cost than hospitals typically offer.

Questions to Ask Your Radiologist Before Scheduling an MRI

When choosing a diagnostic imaging provider, it pays to know the details. A few specific questions can tell you whether a radiologist is among the best in the field, or whether you should look elsewhere. Consider the following questions when seeking medical imaging:

  • Are the radiologists Board Certified? While a medical license is sufficient to practice radiology in California, Board Certification shows a level of expertise that goes far beyond licensure alone.
  • Are the radiologists trained for the specialty you require? Certificates in subspecialties demonstrate precise skills. If you’re being treated for cancer, you want to go to a radiation oncologist. If you need imaging as part of a surgical procedure, seek out an interventional radiologist. For diagnosis, find a specialist in diagnostic radiology.
  • Is the equipment at the facility high quality and totally up to date? Newer X-ray scanners provide clearer images with a lower exposure to radiation. Advances in imaging technology create real advantages to using newer equipment.
  • Do radiologists provide specialized, highly accurate reports, rather than relying on forms and prewritten responses? Radiology reports should be prepared to order, based on individual medical histories and likely diagnoses. Form-based responses might not achieve the level of customization that excellent health care requires.
  • How soon can radiologists provide completed reports to your primary care physician? Long turnaround times are unfortunately common with some radiology providers. Choose an imaging facility that can deliver results quickly, so your doctors can begin the treatment that you need without delay.

All radiologists on staff at Precise Imaging facilities carry Board Certifications. They’re equipped with new and reliable imaging machines to provide the most accurate results available. Radiologists work on-site at the facility, ensuring a quick turnaround on reports, and their reports are original and tailored to a patient’s specific medical needs.

In short, radiologists at Precise Imaging are caring, experienced medical professionals who specialize in the diagnostic imaging procedures that your doctor needs to craft an effective health care plan. They also provide some of the lowest costs in the Los Angeles area. Call Precise Imaging at 800-558-2223 to schedule an appointment today.


Board Certification and Maintenance of Certification.” ABMS. American Board of Medical Specialties, n.d. Web. 1 May 2017.

Initial Certification.” TheABR. The American Board of Radiology, n.d. Web. 1 May 2017.

Jha, Sarabh. “Who Is the Better Radiologist?” TheHealthCareBlog. The Health Care Blog, 16 June 2014. Web. 1 May 2017.

What Is a Radiologist?” ACR. The American College of Radiology, n.d. Web. 1 May 2017.

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