State-of-the-Art Orthopedic Imaging Services
During your treatment at GSOS, your physician may order an MRI scan to assist him in diagnosing your problem. Depending upon what insurance you have, you may be able to have your MRI scan in the MRI Imaging Center. The MRI Imaging Centers are located in Dublin, Los Gatos, Oakland and Walnut Creek offices. The centers are open Monday through Friday from 8:00 a.m. until 5:00 p.m.
Insurance Approval of Your MRI
Once your physician orders an MRI scan, the next step is an evaluation of your insurance by one of our authorization specialists. Your insurance carrier determines whether you can have your scan performed by MOS or if you must have your scan at another facility. If you must use a facility other than MOS for your scan, your order will be forwarded to that facility. At that point, an authorization specialist in our diagnostics department will contact you and let you know which facility to call to schedule your scan.
Your insurance carrier may require a pre-authorization process. The pre-authorization process determines the necessity of you having an MRI scan and is usually based on information from your physician’s examination and any other tests or x-rays that have been performed. Once the pre-authorization process is completed you will receive a phone call to schedule your MRI.
Although we make every effort to get approval quickly, we have no control over the time it takes your insurance carrier to authorize the scan. Please realize that because of this there may be a delay in scheduling your scan. In most cases, however, you will receive a call to schedule your scan within a few days of when your scan was ordered.
In addition, the authorizations specialist will find out what your MRI insurance benefits are so that you will know if you will have to pay any of the expense from having the scan performed. In the current climate of high deductible insurance plans, you may not have satisfied your plan’s deductible amount. If this is the case, GSOS requires you to pay for the approximate cost of your scan at the time of service.
We always inform you of the required payment, if any, when we call to schedule the appointment for your scan. If you are required to have your scan at a facility other than GSOS, be sure to ask about their policy on this issue.
Scheduling your MRI scan
When you receive a call to schedule your scan appointment you will be asked a number of screening questions to make sure it is safe for you to be scanned. If you have any implanted devices, such as a cardiac pacemaker, a vascular stent, or a heart valve, please let our scheduler know and if possible please have in hand the device information card that was given to you at the time your device was implanted.
Please be aware that patients with a pacemaker cannot have an MRI scan. Once it is determined that you are safe to be scanned, we can make your appointment. Also at this time, a follow-up appointment will be made so that your physician can review the results of the scan with you.
About the MRI Scan
When you arrive for your appointment you will be asked to verify the answers to the safety questions that were asked over the phone. You will then be escorted to a dressing room and you will lock up your personal belongings and, if needed, be asked to change into MRI compatible clothing (we provide the clothing). Many MRI scans do not require you to change clothes. Once in the scan room you will lie down on the MRI scan table and be positioned so that we can obtain a quality scan. The scan can take up to 45 minutes, but most scans are completed in 20 to 30 minutes.
Claustrophobia & MRI Scans
Claustrophobic patients may experience some anxiety when placed in the MRI scanner. If you are claustrophobic and feel that you may need some medication to relax you while the scan is performed, arrangements can be made with the ordering physician to call in a prescription for the medication. Let the scheduler know this when you schedule the scan appointment. Be sure to have your pharmacy name and phone number ready and also let the scheduler know if you have any medication allergies.
After Your MRI Scan
Although every patient wants to know right away what the scan “shows,” please do not ask the technologist, as they are not allowed to discuss the scan results with you. Your images are sent to the radiologist and also to the physician that ordered the test. The radiologist will send a report of his interpretation of your scan to your physician. Be sure to attend your follow-up appointment with your physician, as this is where the results of your scan will be discussed, and any further treatment will be planned. If you desire a copy of the radiologist’s report, please ask your physician during this appointment.