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CONSOLIDATION IN MEDICINE HAS NEGATIVELY AFFECTED PATIENTS AND THE INDEPENDENTLY PRACTICING PHYSICIAN
Over the past 10 years, there has been tremendous consolidation in medicine to the detriment of the patient consumer and the independently practicing physician.
The consolidation of many medical entities under few large umbrellas has led to a few, dominant healthcare organizations controlling most of the practice of medicine in many areas including Long Island. This has led to a tremendous difference in reimbursement between hospitals including their outpatient facilities versus independent physicians. In many instances, hospitals and their outpatient facilities are reimbursed 10x or more for similar services provided by independent physicians. This discrepancy in reimbursement has resulted in increased power and wealth to hospitals and extinction of the independent physician. Ten years ago, 2/3 of physicians practiced medicine independently. Today, 1/5 of physicians practice medicine independently and this number is decreasing every day. The two levels of reimbursement have consequences many of which are suffered by the patient consumer.
The multi-hospital healthcare systems (reaching 21 hospitals for a certain group) have placed themselves in a position to dictate reimbursement rates to the insurance companies. Insurance companies pass these increased costs to the patient consumer in the form of higher premiums, deductibles and co-pays.
CMS (The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services) released a report in July 2016 entitled “Quality Ratings for Hospitals”. Hospitals were assigned 1 to 5 stars based on how they care for patients. The top rating is 5 stars. CMS rated 155 hospitals in New York State. Only 1 hospital received a 5 star rating and is located in Manhattan. Many of the hospitals in large health care systems received ratings of 1 and 2 stars. Nationally, only 2.2% of the nation’s 3,500 hospitals received a 5 star rating. Perhaps consolidation is not the key to better quality outcomes.
The acquisition of independent physicians practices by the multi-hospital healthcare systems leads to restriction of competition and higher prices to the patient consumer. The formerly independent physicians, now hospital employees, are expected to refer patients for testing at labs owned by the hospital. Testing facilities owned by hospitals charge a lot more than independent testing facilities especially in radiology. Because of the higher reimbursement rate to hospitals and their acquired facilities and labs, insurance companies pass the increased costs to the patient consumer in the form of higher premiums, deductibles and copays. Annual premium increases have reached 10-30% or higher each year.
The consolidation that has occurred in medicine has benefited only the regional healthcare systems that have evolved because they have significant market share allowing them to negotiate very favorable reimbursement rates with insurance companies charging astronomical, unsustainable prices. It makes no sense to diagnose a meniscal tear on an MRI of the knee performed in a hospital owned imaging center at a cost of $4000-$8000 when the same study can be performed on the same or better MRI in an independent radiology office reimbursed for less than $300. The rise of these regional, healthcare behemoths has come at the expense of the patient consumer and the independent physician.
Legal reform is necessary to undo the consolidation that has occurred in medicine and to reverse the negative economic consequences that have arisen for the patient consumer and the independent physician. Independent physicians, a group that practices medicine economically, need to be supported by reversing the downward trend in reimbursement to a fair and decent level to improve competition. Government exists to right these types of wrongs and to ensure a level playing field in business and society.
For your convenience, we are open 7 days a week and until 10pm Monday to Friday, Saturday and Sunday 8am-4pm.
THE EASY WAY TO LOWER YOUR COSTS FOR RADIOLOGICAL SERVICES
If you need to have a radiology exam such as MRI, CT scan, PET/CT, Ultrasound or Mammography, you may want to shop around and investigate the quality of the radiology equipment and the cost of the study.
Concerning the quality of the radiology equipment. When choosing a radiology site for your MRI, you may want to know whether the MRI is a 3.0 Tesla (highest quality), 1.5 Tesla, 1.0 Tesla or even 0.3 Tesla (lowest quality and still being used in many places). The higher the Tesla, the better the images.
Concerning the cost of your study.You pay for your health insurance and your health insurance pays for your radiology study.Some radiology sites (hospitals and hospital owned imaging centers) are reimbursed at a much higher rate than other radiology sites (private practice imaging centers). Where you choose to have your study may affect your out of pocket expenses and your future premium costs. An MRI performed in a private office such as Zilkha Radiology, costs thousands of dollars less than an MRI performed in a hospital or hospital owned outpatient imaging center. This is a huge price difference especially since the radiology equipment is identical. If your insurance company pays more for your MRI, CT, PET-CT, Mammography, Ultrasound, X-ray, Dexa scan, Biopsy, Nuclear Medicine exam, you can be sure the cost will be passed on to you in the form of higher premiums, co-pays and deductibles.
An easy way to lower the cost of your radiology study and possibly your future insurance premiums is to visit a high quality private imaging center such as Zilkha Radiology. Zilkha Radiology is the only 100% 3T MRI and 100% 3D Mammography practice on Long Island.
For more information please Google "MRI Cost and Pricing Information".
For your convenience, we are open 7 days a week and until 10pm Monday to Friday, Saturday and Sunday 8am-4pm.
3D Breast Tomosynthesis at Zilkha Radiology
Breast cancer is the most common form of cancer and the second leading cause of cancer-related death in the U.S in women. Mammography screening has dramatically reduced breast cancer death particularly after the introduction of digital mammography (2D) in the past 15 years. The American College of Radiology and American Cancer Society recommend that annual screening mammography beginning at the age of 40 saves the most lives.
Digital Breast Tomosynthesis is a 3D imaging modality used in conjunction with 2D digital mammography for breast cancer screening. It is acquired by low dose exposure of a rotating x-ray tube. The obtained 3D images are reconstructed at 1.0 mm thick slices.
3D Breast Tomosynthesis is particularly useful in patients with dense breasts, allowing overlapping structures of the dense breast to be separated. Only structures within the plane of interest remain in focus. This technology improves the ability to detect more cases of breast cancer at a smaller size and at earlier stage. Lives can be saved when breast cancer is found at an earlier stage.
3D Mammography detects cancer that may be overlooked at 2D Mammography. The rate of diagnosis of cancer increases 27% when 3D is added to 2D mammography. There is a 40% increase in detection of invasive breast cancer when 3D is added to 2D. 3D reduces the need for recalls for additional images. 3D mammography reduces false positives, leading to less biopsies. There is less breast compression with 3D particularly important in patients with tender breasts.
Zilkha Radiology has the most technically advanced, up-to-date 3D Mammography. Zilkha Radiology also offers stereotactic breast biopsy, ultrasound guided breast biopsy and MR guided breast biopsy. Arrangements can be made to have biopsies performed on certain evenings and weekends.
Zilkha Radiology has Low Dose CT Scanners in the West Islip and East Islip Offices
All patients undergoing CT scans need to be concerned about radiation dose exposure. This is especially true for children and patients who require follow-up CT studies. There is a need for radiology groups and hospitals to reduce the dose of your CT scan while maintaining or improving imaging quality and higher diagnostic confidence.
Zilkha Radiology has taken the lead to lower radiation dose by implementing a newly developed technology that achieves excellent images while using a significantly lower dose of radiation.
Zilkha Radiology acquired Clarity, an FDA approved technology which is currently used in children's hospitals around the country where low dose CT is the highest priority. How does this technology work? The amount of radiation generated by the CT source is significantly lowered. A "noisy" image is produced. A very powerful computer mathematically removes this noise making high resolution pictures. Dose is consistently reduced on the order of 50-60% for patients scanned before and after the acquisition of this technology.
The following case is an example of how the new software has a significant impact in dose reduction. A patient had a CT scan of the chest in December 2009 with a radiation dose of 5.20 mSv.
The patient had a follow-up CT on October 2010. Using the newly installed low dose technology, the radiation dose was reduced to 2.52 mSv, a reduction of 52%.
Zilkha Radiology often sees patients who have had CT scans at other offices or hospitals. Patients request to have their follow-up CT scans in our office because of the new technology. In one such instance, a patient had a CT scan of the chest at another facility on December 2011. In the other office, the patient received a radiation dose of 12.36 mSv. The patient came to our office five months later for a follow-up chest CT. The radiation dose received at Zilkha Radiology was 3.69 mSv, a much lower radiation dose. The 12.36 mSv is more than three hundred percent higher when compared to the dose at Zilkha Radiology. We have encountered similar instances of patients with higher dose of radiation received at other facilities, including hospitals, hospital affiliated facilities and other radiology groups. Zilkha Radiology believes so deeply in this technology that the patient's dose is printed on every report sent to their doctor. If you want to have your follow up CT at Zilkha Radiology, bring in your prior study and we can tell you what your radiation dose was on your prior CT scan.
Zilkha Radiology is the first and only practice in the Northeast, New York State and Long Island to acquire and provide this new low dose technology in our West Islip and East Islip offices. We optimize diagnostic quality while keeping patient safety our number one priority.
Zilkha Radiology with offices located in East Islip and West Islip, NY is committed to providing you with high quality, personalized care using the most sophisticated techniques and state of the art radiologic equipment. Our offices are equipped to perform all radiological services including 3.0 Tesla MRI, PET/CT, low dose 128-Slice Multi-Detector Helical CT Scans, Ultrasound, 3D Mammography, Nuclear Medicine, DEXA Scans, Digital X-rays, Fluoroscopic Procedures, Biopsies, Therapeutic Injections and more. For our claustrophobic patients, we offer IV sedation for adults and children monitored by board certified anesthesiologists.
Zilkha Radiology has a 3.0 Tesla ultra high field MRI scanner in each of our offices. This ultra high field MRI system has open bore technology and the shortest length of any 3.0 Tesla system on the market. The design facilitates scanning of claustrophobic patients and those who weigh up to 550 pounds. The wide space of the scanner and feet first positioning make lying inside the MRI system more comfortable and a pleasant experience for the patient. Most studies are completed in 15 minutes or less. The 3.0 Tesla MRI system enables advanced clinical application including MR Tractography and Diffusion Tensor Imaging (DTI). It provides excellent imaging quality and superb diagnostic images. The system represents a major breakthrough in technology and Zilkha Radiology is the first on Long Island and the NY metropolitan area to acquire the scanners.
Zilkha Radiology has low dose CT Scanners in the West Islip and East Islip offices. Zilkha Radiology has taken the lead to lower radiation dose by implementing a newly developed software that helps achieve excellent diagnostic images while using a lower dose radiation.
Zilkha Radiology has been designated a Lung Cancer Screening Center by the American College of Radiology.
Zilkha Radiology has the most technically advanced, up-to-date 3D Mammography. Zilkha Radiology also offers stereotactic breast biopsy, ultrasound guided breast biopsy and MR guided breast biopsy.
Your study is interpreted by experienced Board Certified Radiologists with subspecialty training in neuroradiology, musculoskeletal radiology, mammography/women's imaging, cross section/body imaging, nuclear medicine, magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) and ultrasound.
Our PACS system allows referring physicians to view images of their patient's exams from their offices and retrieve patient reports. Our PACS system has been provided by AGFA which is the leading manufacturer and installer of PACS worldwide.
From the time you call to make an appointment until your study is completed, someone will be available to answer your questions and help you. When you arrive at the center, our receptionists will help you with your paperwork. When it is time for your exam, our technologist will explain the procedure and remain with you to answer any questions you may have. You will probably have lots of questions. We are here to make sure you get the answers you need.
To learn more about our services or to set up an appointment, please call us today at 631-277-1600.
The offices are accredited by the American College of Radiology.