Lexington Diagnostic Center: Preferred By Patients & Insurers Alike

A major healthcare insurance company announced last fall that it would no longer pay for outpatient MRIs and CT scans performed at hospitals when the patient could have received the exam at a lower cost at a free-standing imaging center. So far, 13 states are affected, including Kentucky.

As you can imagine, this announcement sent shock waves through the healthcare world, especially hospitals!

Why would an insurance company implement such a policy?

The answer is simple really: cost. Hospitals carry a lot of overhead: 24-hour emergency departments, laundry and nutrition services, administration and so on. These expenses have to be made up somewhere and imaging studies are typically one source of revenue. As a result, imaging studies performed in hospitals are typically two or three times more expensive than those performed at free-standing centers.

Now if you have health insurance you might be thinking none of this matters to you: your insurance will pay for your testing. Maybe. Maybe not. It would be in your best interest to check before having an outpatient CT or MRI done to ensure that it’s being covered … wherever you’re having it done.

Out of pocket expenses such as (deductibles, coinsurance, and copays) could be significantly lower than hospital costs.

Can the hospital where you’re planning to have this testing done tell you up front what your financial responsibility will be? Probably not. In all likelihood, they don’t even know.

As the area’s only free-standing, locally owned, private imaging center, Lexington Diagnostic Center has been providing high-quality, low-cost services to area patients for more than 30 years. Not only do patients experience a comfortable, home-like environment at Lexington Diagnostic Center, they enjoy peace of mind knowing an estimate of what their testing will cost up front.

Don’t believe it? Here are some examples of the costs Lexington Diagnostic Center patients have reported to us (based on Anthem BC/BS and Humana plans):

Lexington Diagnostic Center

Summer Sports Injuries… Bubble Wrap, Anyone?

Warmer weather, bluer skies and sunny days have a way of spurring even the most dedicated couch potato off the cushion and into the great outdoors. Sadly, human beings don’t often behave in rational ways, we don’t like to prepare, and we often imagine ourselves to be in far better physical condition than we are.

The almost inevitable result of this behavior? Injury.

That’s not to say we shouldn’t avail ourselves of every opportunity to be more active (we should) or we shouldn’t enjoy the great outdoors (we must) or that we need to be wrapped in bubble wrap (well … maybe). But it does mean we need to be a little more careful with our bodies and to pay close attention when they’re trying to tell us something. Like “I HURT!”

The specialists at Lexington Diagnostic Center have seen it all – literally. Blown ACLs. Broken legs. Mangled elbows. Stretched ligaments. Torn cartilage. You name it… they’ve helped diagnose it. If your pursuits land you in a world of hurt this summer, the folks at Lexington Diagnostic Center can help!

In the meantime, they offer the following digest of common summer sports injuries – and how they’re diagnosed – to help your body survive whatever you put it through this year.

One of the most commonly occurring summer injuries is the sprained ankle. They happen everywhere: stepping down from a curb, playing badminton at the family reunion, picnicking in the park. Wherever there’s an uneven surface, there’s an opportunity for an ankle sprain! If you can put weight on the ankle for about three steps, and nothing is sticking out or looking really nasty, treatment with rest, ice, compression and elevation (RICE) should be sufficient. But if the ankle swells, becomes extremely painful or it’s difficult to walk, it’s best to see a doctor. Diagnosis will undoubtedly involve an x-ray to determine if anything’s broken.

Injuries to the shoulder can be quite painful – and serious. Shoulder strain occurs when a muscle or tendon in the shoulder is stretched. Signs include pain, swelling, muscle cramps or spasms and limited range of motion. Often, these injuries occur when the weekend athlete pitches one too many fast balls, plays too much golf or tennis, or really gets at the rowing machine. A rotator cuff injury is more serious and often seen in athletes and others who use their arms overhead a lot. Think construction workers, swimmers, baseball players and weight lifters. Diagnosing shoulder injuries may include x-rays or an MRI.

Overuse injuries/stress fractures occur as people transition from an indoor running environment to pounding the pavement outside. Although increased mileage and harder surfaces are often the culprit, we also see patients with stress fractures arising out of a 5K “fun run.” Stress fractures aren’t fun but helping others does help lessen the pain a little (as would a little bit of training beforehand). Stress fractures can be difficult to diagnose and don’t always show up on a general x-ray. Often, an MRI is required to make the diagnosis. With a stress fracture, you’ll be on crutches (or in a boot) for a while and may be given anti-inflammatories for the swelling and pain.

Collar bone (clavicle) injuries are common among children and young adults who spend time rollerblading or at the skate park. We also see these sometimes with watersports like tubing, whitewater rafting, wakeboarding or skiing. There’s often a lot of pain and moving the arm can be very difficult. Because the collar bone lies so close to the surface of the skin, a break is usually pretty obvious, but an x-ray will confirm the diagnosis.

Knee pain is common year-round, but athletes (and would-be athletes) sometimes experience it as a result of a bike accident or from pushing themselves too far and too hard cycling. Just as in running, bicyclists should build up to longer distances over a period of weeks. If your doctor suspects a tear or injury to the meniscus (the cartilage that cushions the joint), an MRI will be ordered. If a dislocation is suspected, the first step will likely be an x-ray, possibly followed. Treatment will depend upon the severity of the injury.

 

Ultrasound: The Stethoscope of Modern Medicine

When you hear the word ultrasound, what springs to mind? If you’re like most, it’s probably the joy of a new life, the somewhat blurry images of babies yet to be born. As important, and as widespread, as fetal ultrasound is, there’s so much more to it than that!

Mom-to-be ultrasounds aside, this imaging technology is the second- most commonly used diagnostic imaging procedure in the United States. It has applications in diagnosing and treating heart disease; in understanding conditions affecting the circulatory system; determining the nature of various lumps and bumps; helping physicians deliver medications directly to injured areas; breaking up kidney stones; and more.

Physicians and healthcare providers turn to ultrasound so often because of its utility; its safety; the fact that patients are not exposed to radiation; its ability to record the functioning of organs in real time; its portability; and its affordability. Ultrasound technology is so useful that it has been labeled “the stethoscope of modern medicine!”

Principles and history of ultrasound 

As the name implies, ultrasound makes use of sound waves at very high frequencies. The principle is very similar to the way whales, dolphins, bats and other animals locate objects and navigate through their environments.

During an ultrasound, high-frequency sound waves (1 – 10 megahertz) are directed at the body structure using a hand-held device called a transducer. As sound waves bounce back, the transducer picks up the echoes and feeds data regarding their speed and intensity into a computer. The computer analyzes this data to create the ultrasound image.

Although the ancient Greeks realized the power of sound, it wasn’t until the early 20th Century that knowledge and need converge to create this powerful technique. Blast shocks from the bombing of Britain during World War II often resulted in damage to internal organs. The problem was so vexing that Royal Army Surgeon John J. Wild began searching for a non-invasive way to evaluate these injuries. Wild’s attention turned to ultrasound, which up to that time had been used in military and industrial applications.

After the war, Wild emigrated to the U.S., where he continued his work. In 1949, he discovered that sonic energy was reflected as echoes from soft biological tissues. It was an accidental discovery, but one that earned Wild recognition as the father of medical ultrasound.

Ultrasound today

The tremendous versatility and portability of ultrasound technology has made it an extremely valuable testing modality. Today, ultrasound machines can be found in the battlefield, helping to evaluate injuries and trauma and speeding appropriate treatment for military personnel.
Closer to home, Lexington Diagnostic Center provides this imaging technology in its comfortable and convenient center on Harrodsburg Road. Here, ultrasound is used to evaluate gallstones; kidney tumors; kidney stones; liver cysts and other tumors; the thyroid; blood clots in the legs; testicular masses; and abnormalities in the ovaries and uterus. Ultrasound is also used to evaluate hip problems in children and in the diagnosis of circulatory conditions.

Choosing Lexington Diagnostic Center for your medical imaging is the right choice in so many ways: convenience, comfort, quality, satisfaction, and price. In addition to ultrasound services, Lexington Diagnostic Center offers MRI, CT, nuclear medicine studies, DexaScan, and general x-ray testing. When your doctor orders a diagnostic imaging exam for you, remember – you have a choice. Call Lexington Diagnostic Center at (859) 278-7226 to learn how we can help you!