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Thursday, August 14, 2014

MRI is cash cow

One time I was over in MRI with a patient, sitting at th
e desk with the tech and he told me that there are 2 places in the hospital that make a lot of money:

1) Radiology

2) Surgery

I have noticed that doing MRIs has become a part of emergency medicine.  I can remember a time when we NEVER did MRIs in the ER.  It just wasn't done.  Now I would say we probably do 10 a day.  Most of them are brain MRIs for dizziness and some for strokes.  Lets say an average MRI costs about 1,000 dollars (they vary widely in price).  So thats 10,000 dollar a day x 365 days = $3,650,000 a year.   That's just in the ER.  Think about the inpatient and  outpatient MRIs being done.  Our hospital has 3 MRIs.  I work in a large hospital.  Lets say each scanner does 20 MRIs a day.  $1,000 x 60 = $60,000 a day x 260 days (eliminating weekends) = $15,600,000 a year.  So thats about  $20,000,000 a year off the MRI department.

Consider the other tests that are now done routinely like CT cardiac angios.  If you have a hint of family history, take cholesterol pill, have high BP, off you go. CTs are another big source of income, especially CT abdomens which are routine.

When you look at the money being made, you can see why all of these tests are ordered:

1) more money for hospital

2) bumps up level of care in ER = more money for docs

Lots and lots of these tests are unnecessary.  I wonder if with all the changes coming in health care if this fleecing of the hospital patient will stop.

8 comments:

Anonymous said...

And then for the one patient that doesn't get a CT, they end up having an ischemic colon or a PE or something.

Los Angeles Caregivers said...
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Anonymous said...

Or 3) Fear of a lawsuit for that one patient that they didn't sent to imaging that ends up with Something Bad, as referenced by the PE or dead colon.

Mark p.s.2 said...

The cost to run the machine is not really $1,000.00. Just some electricity and the guy/gal to run the machine.
The cost to do my laundry at the laundry mat is $2.00 a wash and $2.00 to dry for twenty minutes.

girlvet said...

1) how much for the neuro rad to read head mri?

1) So now we need MRI for PEs? I thought the less costly CT did job, along with CT abd? Stop justifying over ordering.

Susan McCormick said...

Your patients are lucky. When I had severe neck pain for 2 herniated discs a couple of years ago I was told by the ER where I live that they don't do MRI's in the ER even though I had one doctor tell me I needed one.

Kacey said...

This is truly scary information, but so important for us to know about as it must be shared with the public. I hope doctors get better at this kind of diagnosis because it is an expensive procedure to undertake. My husband and I have a family member who can really use this information so we will share it. Thank you.

Kacey @ Glendale MRI

Nursing Jobs said...

I like your blog a lot. Its informative and full of information. Thank you for sharing.