More often than not, buying decisions are finalized based on cost and cost alone. And why shouldn’t it be? Times are tough, and if you find a steal of a deal that fits your budget, you should jump on it. Here’s the truth though: buying an MRI scanner is not cheap. While you can find great deals on used and refurbished medical equipment, it is a big investment when you add up equipment costs, constructions costs, and other service expenses such as inspection, installation, helium, and maintenance. Not to mention, the time required after your MRI Scanner is installed while you obtain all the necessary licenses, Medicare License, and HMO programs.
Cost management is the core business task when purchasing MRI equipment and putting up your imaging center, private office, clinic, or mobile unit. Buying an MRI Scanner that doesn’t fit your overall business standard paired with unmanageable expenditures can pose a big threat on your practice. If you are still unsure of equipment, there are options to lease or rent machines. Though in time, the cost of leasing may surpass the cost of buying, it is still a good idea to look into the option if buying is too risky for you.
In addition to unpredictable construction costs, MRI equipment varies in cost as well, making it almost impossible to put a definite price tag on any one system. MRI Scanners with more strength produce more detailed images, which will ultimately cost more. Standard 1.5 tesla MRI scanners can cost up to $1 million; of course that price is cut significantly when buying on the secondary market or with refurbished equipment. Other factors that play a key impact on price include the year equipment was manufactured, the specific model you desire, which coils are included in the machine, current system operating software, and gradient strength.
Since MRI equipment can be costly, the procedures in turn can also become quite costly. Providing an actual MRI can cost anywhere from $90 to $200* per procedure, depending upon which MRI procedure is performed, location of your testing facility, and reimbursements available to your imaging center or practice.
*Based on a volume of 300 per month.
The reduced reimbursement rates for the equipment component of many MRI scans has certainly shifted the economic landscape. Typically, MRI Scanner costs are comprised of two parts: the Technical Fees and the Professional Fees. The technical fee, also known as the equipment fee, is the cost of the actual procedure itself. The professional fee is associated with having the radiologist view images and interpret test results. An equipment charge may cost anywhere from $30 to $60, with a professional charge ranging from $50 to $100, depending on rates negotiated with your specific radiologist or radiologist group.
Reimbursement rates also differ based on insurance carrier and site of care. For Medicare in particular, the technical and professional components of procedures performed in an IDTF or physician’s office is reimbursed under the Medicare Physician fee Schedule, a Medicare payment system which establishes payments based on resource costs associated with physician work, practice expense, and professional liability insurance. In the state of Florida, an average Medicare allowable is approximately $471.
Despite financial concerns due to declining reimbursement rates, a report titled “MR Market Outlook Study: Present Practice and Future Outlook, 2011-2013,” describes how the MRI industry is emerging from the recent recession without permanent damage. The report also indicates that MRI has settled into a period of steady 3.2% annual utilization growth, and that a surge of MRI scanner sales is expected in the coming year.
If you need pricing on an MRI scanner or have questions about the reimbursements, feel free to contact us anytime.