For routine diagnostic imaging, it’s faster, more convenient and much less expensive to have the procedure performed at an independent outpatient facility such as Tricounty Radiology.
One of the realities of being “on the dark side of 50” is that my back issues are not improving. What started 20 years ago as an occasional twinge has degenerated into at least a biannual event. Whether making a bed or bending over to pick up a tissue, the slightest provocation can send me to bed for three days, gobbling ibuprofen like they were M&Ms and alternating ice and heat.
My second episode – so far – of 2017 happened just a month ago. Sitting at my desk one evening, I turned and reached for a glass when my back seized. And when I say seized, I mean a root canal without anesthesia could not have been more painful.
Familiar with my history, my doctor instructed me “to go to the ER,” where “they are probably going to do an MRI.” Over $2,500 later, I wish I’d known to ask if that was my only option.
“There’s definitely a time when certain diagnostic imaging procedures are better suited in a hospital setting,” stated Laura Deprill, marketing manager at Tricounty Radiology. “However, for routine diagnostic imaging, it’s faster, more convenient and much less expensive to have the procedure performed at an independent outpatient facility such as Tricounty Radiology.”
“Most patients don’t realize they have a choice. Your doctor may advise where to have the test, but, ultimately, the decision is yours. Once you have a signed order, you can take that radiology order to any facility that offers the test,” Deprill explained. She continued: “An independent outpatient testing facility doesn’t have the overhead of a hospital and doesn’t have to cover the cost of beds, pharmacy, an emergency department and around-the-clock staffing. We pass this cost savings on to our patients. Our rates are typically 40 to 60 percent less than area hospitals.”
Deprill cited another advantage: “At Tricounty Radiology, you will receive one all-inclusive bill consisting of the radiology test fee and the fee for the radiologist interpreting the test. At the hospital, you will be charged separately for these services.”
Board-certified, fellowship-trained radiologists at Tricounty Radiology utilize state-of-the-art, American College of Radiology accredited equipment to perform diagnostic tests. Beyond the experienced radiologists and cost savings lies the convenience of scheduling an appointment to fit your day, evening or even weekend. It’s like winning the trifecta of radiology.
High-deductible health care plans make it necessary for patients to shop the best possible value – affordable pricing without sacrificing quality and service. As patients become more informed consumers, it’s not out of line to ask your doctor: Is there a less expensive option for having this test performed? What nearby facilities offer this test? Can I have a copy of my signed radiology order so I can schedule my own appointment?
Tricounty Radiology prides itself on excellent customer service; the referring doctor will receive results within 24 hours of the test. They accept all insurance plans. Additionally, every patient receives a good-faith estimate detailing costs before the test is performed.
I ended up paying close to $2,000 for my hospital-based MRI with an additional bill of more than $500 from the radiologist who interpreted my MRI.
Had I known then what I know now, I would have received one, all-inclusive bill from Tricounty Radiology for as little as $575 as a self-pay rate. Or, I could have used my insurance and still paid less than $1,000. Now that’s something to cause a back seizure.