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Money MRIs costing some patients up to $500 - but they're free elsewhere

05:16  14 june  2018
05:16  14 june  2018 Source:

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For uninsured patients , a T-2 weighted head MRI (with gadolinium contrast) cost in 2008 USD 4,200 in Silicon Valley. They ' re the ones with the plush offices in the upscale neighborhoods who drive BMWs, etc. (my son drives a pick- up ).

A single MRI costs roughly , 500 . After three months, researchers reported no difference in how patients in both groups said they felt. In every case, the doctor opted for some type of injection.

Basic medical scans are costing patients up to $500 in some parts of New South Wales, while other areas get them for free.

Mount Druitt Hospital was given a $3.6 million MRI machine in May 2017, but because it's not covered by Medicare, outpatients are charged $150 for a scan.

MRI is seen as the "gold standard" to diagnose soft tissue conditions and stage one cancers.

It is widely seen as a much safer option for children, because it uses magnets not radiation.

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The system goes through the patient 's body point by point, building up a map of tissue types. And there's a high cost to this kind of quality; MRI systems are very expensive to purchase, and therefore the exams are also very expensive.

But they couldn’t tell me what my rate was going to be as an insured patient . Hospitals lose a lot of money on some services and make it up other other services. Copy And Paste To Republish This Story. How Much For An MRI ? $ 500 ? ,000?

MRIs are costing some patients up to $500. Picture: 9NEWS © Provided by Nine Digital Pty Ltd MRIs are costing some patients up to $500. Picture: 9NEWS

If a patient is admitted through the emergency department an MRI scan is free.

If someone is referred for a scan by a GP, they are charged up to $500.

Mount Druitt Hospital decided to discount the fee to $150 to make it more affordable for their patients.

"Mount Druitt residents are being forced to dig into their pocket to pay for MRI scans to work out whether or not they have cancer," Local Federal Labor MP Ed Husic said.

"It's simply because Malcolm Turnbull won't provide a Medicare licence."

Only 13 public hospitals in Sydney are on the Medicare list to fully cover MRI scans.

In regional NSW, there are just five licences in public hospitals.

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So, at some hospitals (most others never tried this, or have given up ) the patient gets a brief exam. In the ED there are lots of presentations that could and should be handled elsewhere . It costs us 60 a year for both of us and we have a once-per-year excess of $ 500 for admission to hospital.

There are none in the Southern NSW, Murrumbidgee and Far West Local Health Districts.

a close up of a map: Thirteen public hospitals fully cover MRI scans. Picture: 9NEWS. © Provided by Nine Digital Pty Ltd Thirteen public hospitals fully cover MRI scans. Picture: 9NEWS.

NSW Health Minister Brad Hazzard has written to both Federal Minister Greg Hunt and Treasurer Scott Morrison about the lack of MRI services available.

9NEWS has learned it will be a topic that Mr Hazzard and his interstate colleagues will raise with the Federal government at the next COAG meeting in August.

Mr Hunt pointed out the former Labor government didn't put Mt Druitt Hospital on the Medicare list and the Shorten Opposition has not committed to it either.

Mr Hunt claims there will be a series of "very positive announcements" soon.

"We've just allocated $2 billion in the last year to additional diagnostic imaging resources," Mr Hunt said.

Mr Husic campaigned hard to secure the MRI machine for Mount Druitt Hospital.

Tanya Plibersek as Health Minister committed the machine, funding that was pulled during Tony Abbott’s 2013 Mid Year Economic Financial Outlook.

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