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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:   msn.com

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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 .6 million MRI machine in May 2017, but because it's not covered by Medicare, outpatients are charged 0 for a scan. MRI is seen as the

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 .6 million MRI machine in May 2017, but because it's not covered by Medicare, outpatients are charged 0 for a scan. MRI is seen as the

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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An open MRI is wider than an enclosed MRI and is often recommended for obese patients , those who struggle with claustrophobia, or patients whose joints are being examined. An upright MRI allows patients to be scanned while standing or sitting, which can be helpful in diagnosing certain conditions.

Add in patient support areas and installation costs , and a suite with just one machine can cost anywhere from million to million. Charges for a single MRI scan vary widely across the country for reasons beyond startup costs . According to the recently released Medicare data, MRIs charges

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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MRI stands for Magnetic Resonance Imaging which is a technology that uses magnetic signals to show the different tissues inside the body allowing a digital image of inside the human body to be created. MRI 's are primarily used to study nerves, muscles, ligaments, bones

A spinal MRI typically costs about ,000-,000, depending on such factors as the area of the spine being If deductibles are met, typical out-of-pocket costs for insured patients consist of a copay for the doctor's visit and possibly a copay for the MRI . I knew when they charged me for parking, and

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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