One of the most important things you can do for your health (besides eating healthy foods and exercising), is to seek credible knowledge and use that information to be your own advocate. So often, patients don’t realize that they have choices when it comes to healthcare and that those choices can – and do – make a difference.
Take diagnostic imaging studies, for example.
When the doctor recommends a CT scan, MRI, or ultrasound exam, many patients simply go wherever their doctor suggests because they don’t realize they have choices that can make a huge difference in out-of-pocket costs.
Lexington Diagnostic Center and Open MRI, located on Harrodsburg Road in Lexington, offers patients not only outstanding, personal care and superior quality but is also often significantly less expensive than hospital-based imaging.
With full-time board-certified and fellowship-trained radiologists in the center daily; experienced, certified technical staff performing the exams; a laser-like focus on the patient and family; and state-of-the-art equipment, Lexington Diagnostic Center delivers a higher level of care.
“Diagnostic imaging is all we do,” said Davonna Saier, marketing manager for the center. “This singular focus allows LDC to schedule patients quickly, conduct tests efficiently, provide outstanding quality and reporting and do it all at a significantly lower cost.”
Patients are sometimes concerned imaging studies performed outside the hospital won’t be readily available to their physicians, or cannot be compared to previous studies. “That is never a concern,” Saier said. “Lexington Diagnostic Center provides an advanced Picture Archiving and Communications System (PACS) which allows the referring physician to access our radiologists’ reports and imaging studies from their own computers, or even from the surgery suite at the local hospitals,” Saier said.
Further, every patient who has imaging performed at LDC leaves the center that day with a disk containing all the images captured during the visit. “They can take the images directly to their doctor for review and, of course, the images are always archived here at the center for future reference.”
As for comparing today’s images to those captured months or even years ago, Lexington Diagnostic Center can request them from other medical facilities for comparison purposes – continuity of care – without issue. “We have a courier who runs between all the medical facilities daily picking up imaging studies and returning them here, to the Center, where our radiologists use them to compare today’s studies with any studies performed previously,” Saier said.
There is no charge to the patient for this service – and no hassle either. “All they need to do is tell us where they had the study done, and when, and we’ll take care of the rest,” Saier said.
Patients also have access to all their studies performed at Lexington Diagnostic through a secure internet connection, the Patient Portal. The portal allows patients to read and study the radiologist’s findings and print them out if desired. “This allows patients to look up terms, think about the findings and follow up with the referring physician with questions or concerns,” Saier noted.
It is one advantage of having imaging done at LDC that many patients really appreciate, she added. Another benefit is how convenient and easy it is to have testing done at Lexington Diagnostic. With early morning, evening and Saturday hours, patients never have to wait weeks to have a test scheduled. When you arrive at the center for testing, you can feel confident your test will be performed and you’ll be on your way quickly. There are no long waits caused by emergency cases bumping the schedule. Results are reported to the referring physician very quickly, always in less than 72 business hours, Saier noted.
One of the most important considerations for patients receiving care is cost. Patients at Lexington Diagnostic Center have peace of mind knowing exactly how much their imaging study will cost, and what their out-of-pocket costs will be. Most patients will save hundreds of dollars by choosing to have their MRIs, CTs and other tests performed at LDC instead of the local hospital.
“That’s because hospital overhead – the cafeteria, laundry, parking garages – is rolled up into every patient’s bill. At Lexington Diagnostic Center, imaging is the only thing we do. We keep our overhead costs low and that keeps our prices low, too.”
Taking advantage of the Lexington Diagnostic Center difference is easy. Just speak up when your doctor orders an imaging procedure. “Most patients don’t realize they have the right to decide where they’ll go for a test or procedure,” Saier said. When patients fail to express a preference, the doctor’s office will schedule the procedure where it is most convenient for them – usually the hospital.
Sometimes patients feel uncomfortable telling a physician they need a less expensive alternative. That is natural. But, Saier noted, “Your doctor should be just as concerned about your financial health as he or she is about your physical health.”
Price transparency is an important part of the Lexington Diagnostic Center patient care philosophy. “It’s important for patients to know not only how much a test will cost, but what they will be responsible for in terms of co-pays, deductibles or co-insurance,” Saier said. LDC works with the patient’s insurer to determine out-of-pocket costs before testing is performed. Patients are informed up front, usually at least 48 hours before their appointment. Payment is collected on the day of the test.
“This means patients never have to worry about getting a bill they didn’t expect 30 or 60 days later,” Saier said. Unlike hospitals, Lexington Diagnostic’s bill includes the radiologist’s professional fees. “There will only ever be one bill from us,” Saier said.
LDC accepts all insurance plans, including Medicare and Medicaid. “We’re also an excellent choice for self-pay patients because testing at our facility is very affordable,” she noted. In fact, she noted, insurance companies will sometimes contact their enrollees to encourage them to schedule their testing at LDC.
For more information on how Lexington Diagnostic Center can help you save money on your healthcare, or to explore your options for an upcoming imaging study, please call LDC at (859) 278-7226 or visit the website at lexingtondiagnostic.com. Lexington Diagnostic Center is conveniently located at 1725 Harrodsburg Road, Suite 100, Lexington.
Photos courtesy of Mark Mahan