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Kansas City independent imaging clinic works to make medical imaging affordable

Element Medical Imaging
Posted at 6:10 PM, Jun 07, 2024

Elyse Schoenig focuses her reporting on health care costs. If you have an idea and would like to send Elyse a news tip on the topic, you can email her here.

It's expensive for patients in the United States when they need medical imaging.

According to the American Academy of Family Physicians, a national doctor's organization, the average MRI can cost between $1,200 to $4,000. The average CT scan can cost between $1,200 to $3,200.

Element Medical Imaging is an independent imaging clinic in Kansas City working to make imaging more affordable. The clinic offers low-cost, cash price imaging.

"It's very difficult to diagnose what's wrong with a patient without some sort of imaging,” Dr. Luke Wilson said.

Dr. Wilson is a physician and president of Element Medical Imaging.

"Healthcare is difficult because it's hard to find transparency in healthcare," Dr. Wilson said. “So we try to make it as transparent as possible."

He said the company is able to offer more affordable prices because hospitals have facility fees and other overhanging fees that his clinic doesn't.

"Those extra costs, while they don't necessarily create better imaging, are passed along to the insurance company and as a result, the patient or the consumer,” he said.

Dr. Wilson said they use the same cutting edge equipment as hospitals. They also have specialty-trained radiologists on staff, which is another way they streamline the process.

Element Medical Imaging is also the first outpatient, non-affiliated hospital to have a CT PET scanner in the region. This is crucial in cancer diagnoses.

This kind of care has come in handy for patient Jeffrey Williams’s injuries: both knees, both shoulders, and his right hand.

"I’m not spending $2,000 for both shoulders, my hand," Williams said. "I probably would've spent $10,000?" Jeffrey said.

His MRI costs dropped from thousands to hundreds.

"I can bypass all those things because I was just willing to spend $350 in cash,” he said.