The Women's Journal

What Does Obamacare Mean For MRI? NOTHING.

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3T_am12By Dr. Philip Chao

Well, actually, not a whole lot.  It is still the PATIENT’S job to assure that they get the highest quality MRI. While you might think a doctor cares about the quality of the MRI they order or their front desk staff might care – the actual truth is – they don’t care very much.  They prefer convenience over quality.  They prefer to send their patients to older less capable magnets which have lower quality because that is where they are used to sending their patients.  This means they are potentially sending you to a place which can miss whatever you have.  A POOR QUALITY MRI will miss a lot.  The more subtle MRI readings and better intepretation comes with experience and better equipment.

Under Obamacare, which expands medicaid and some low cost insurance, patients can get higher quality imaging for the same price. It is increasingly difficult to keep up with the intricacies and the “ins and outs” of health insurance plans.  Will your insurance company require YOU to contribute to this payment out of your own pocket—despite all you have paid in premiums?  If you don’t have hours to spend on hold, it can be difficult to get quick answers to such questions and no one likes getting an unexpected bill for an unexpected copayment!  In fact sometimes ecevn after holding for hours you do not get a straight answer.  One new bit of information not always mentioned, is that the size of your copayment might depend on where you have your “test” done—even between two places that both take your insurance!  It is shocking to find that if an MRI is done at a hospital, their insurance company could charge them a copay of several hundred dollars, but that if the test was done at a doctors office (or “Independent Testing Facility”), the copay would be $47.  Quite a difference!

REVEAL (DWI), shows cancers as “light bulb” lesions.  Your doctor may not be aware of this revolutionary scanning technology.  Most of the research on this excellent technique can be found by a simple web search—for diffusion weighted imaging of cancer.  The large cancer shown below was found to be malignant by this technique without any injections.  The ultrasound and CT were a waste of the $1000 they cost.   They were inconclusive.  The MRI cost 500 dollars and was superior to both the CT and U/S without contrast.  One could have saved 1000 dollars on this patient.  Multiply that over 300 million people and you can see how good quality MRI can save us money.

Ask questions.  It could save you hundreds of dollars.  The quality of an MRI is based on the strength of the MRI scanner—NOT where that scanner is located.  Your prescription for an MRI can be filled by your CHOICE of provider.  The quality of an MRI Report is based on the education and exerience of the Radiologist (whether a General Radiologist, Neuroradiologist, etc.)—NOT where that specialist is located.  Paying more does not necessarily mean you are getting better quality.  Having an MRI at a hospital does not necessarily mean you are getting a better study.

Ask your MRI Provider which contrast they use.  Sadly, the three contrasts (Multihance, Prohance and Eovist) that have never been linked to the disease “NSF” are not even carried by most MRI Providers. Also, who is responsible for the added cost of the safe contrasts. (

What if you are claustrophobic and you can’t be in a closed MRI, can your provider switch you to an open MRI immediately? Medicaid patients just need a doctors special autorization if they are claustrophobic.

Can your MRI provider offer other services like metal subtraction imaging, indirect arthrography, super high resolution studies – only which can be done with 3T, diffusion tensor imaging, proton spectroscopy, prostate MRI, 3T Breast MRI which is 100% sensitive for breast cancer,  and also offer our super high quality studies for non-contrast studies?  Or an abdomen study able to pick up smaller pancreatic cancers, smaller liver cancers and include diffusion weighted imaging.  This new technique is up to 96% sensitive for cancer.

The other day a patient called our BEST OPEN MRI office which is the newest and strongest and highest quality OPEN MRI in Delaware.  We are also the only facility that offers IV sedation in case they fail. When that patient found out our scanner was ACR accredited (*all of our scanners are) and that she could get the higher quality for the same price – she changed her appointment.

Dr. Chao has 27 years experience doing and reading MRIs.  He is able to talk to the patients and your doctor at any time.  He will answer SMS txts as well.  He tries to be the most available radiologist in the state.  He also responds to email.  No other doctor is this available to the patients and your doctor. We want to help – we want to answer your questions.  Our OPEN MRI pictures are guaranteed to be as good as other CLOSED MRI pictures.  The ACR (American College of Radiology) said so!

32-channel, 3T MRI scanner that we have installed in our new office in Lewes, Delaware is second to none for brain imaging.  You’ve heard of Traumatic Brain Injury?  Our scanner in Lewes is able to track this using a process called Diffusion Tensor Imaging (“DTI”).  It can actually show you microscoptic damage to the fibers of the brain!

More information can be found at  and, or

If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to call Dr. Chao at 302 295-3367 (33MR).  We are here to help.

Ask questions.  Get the best.3t_mri_as12

Dr. Philip Chao graduated Phi Beta Kappa from Yale University and was Scholar of the House. He continued his studies at the University of Rochester School of Medicine and Dentistry, receiving his medical degree in 1983. After a transitional internship year at the Mary Imogene Bassett Hospital in Cooperstown NY, Dr. Chao did his residency in Radiology at Brooklyn’s SUNY Health Science Center (1984-1987), where he became Chief Resident. He stayed on to complete a fellowship in Neuroradiology (1987-1988). Dr. Chao has been interested in MRI technology since its very beginning – the first MRI scan took place in 1981 while he was pursuing his medical studies. The University of Pennsylvania, where Dr. Chao was both a Body MRI Fellow (1988-1990) and a Neuroradiology Fellow (1989-1990), was at the heart of the development of this technology and Dr. Chao was able to work with pioneers in MRI on the first GE Signa 1.5T (tesla) scanner. His advanced research and specializations complete, Dr. Chao left the University of Pennsylvania for a position as Director of MRI in Wilmington DE – a position he held for 14 years. Dr. Chao eventually left that position to create the best MRI center in Delaware, using the very latest technology: 3T MRI. While 3T (tesla) scanners have been used for scanning research patients since 2002, these advanced, more powerful MRI scanners only became available for clinical use in 2004. Dr. Chao worked hard to bring 3T technology to Delaware and in February 2007, MRI Consultants, LLC began operating the first 3T scanner in the State. 3T is the newest horizon for MRI.

Best Open MRI

302 838 7800

also visit our new office:

MRI Consultants Lewes

17252-9 N. Village Main Blvd

Lewes, DE 19958

302 827 4251