Private MRI Facility Opens in San Angelo to Address Rising Heath Care Costs
SAN ANGELO, TX — “He hit me going 100 mph, I went into the air and my leg just snapped,” Clint Reichenau said about when he broke is fibula when a snowboarder slammed into him on the ski slopes in New Mexico. The injury and subsequent treatment for that injury highlighted for Reichenau a need in San Angelo for an affordable MRI facility.
He and his partner, Brett Schniers, put their heads and money together and figured out how to provide an independent MRI service locally. The partners are serving the region, including Abilene.
Named Angelo MRI, it is an independent, locally owned and operated Magnetic Resonance Imaging facility. The new company celebrates its grand opening today, January 12, with a ribbon cutting by the San Angelo Chamber of Commerce. Located at 4114 South Jackson St., the facility provides affordable, timely scans.
Reichenau emphasizes that patients have the right to choose their MRI provider. “Patients have the freedom to decide where to have their MRI,” he said. “It’s 100 percent their choice. Patients have the right to say: ‘I want to go to Angelo MRI to save money and time.’”
The skiing accident broke Clint’s fibula. In great pain, ski patrol rescued him and took him to an ambulance that rushed him to a hospital in Taos, New Mexico.
Months of treatment and rehabilitation followed the skiing accident. On an appointment, his doctor recommended he get an MRI. The doctor was looking for what was the specific cause of recurring pain.
“A bunch of people told me if you want an MRI, you probably need to go to Abilene,” Reichenau said.
Local hospitals have MRI equipment, but the cost for the patient is high, especially for small business owners like Reichenau and his partner Brett Schniers.
Schniers, still young and in his prime, is a hardworking farmer in Wall. Even though he’s just in his 30s, he has grappled with the cost of MRIs to treat back pain.
Both partners rely on private health insurance on the private market. Like most professionals in the region, they’re self-employed and don’t benefit from a large company group health insurance policy.
Even with private health insurance, the cost of Reichenau’s MRI at the hospital was nearly $1,000 out-of-pocket because of his co-pay. And that came with a 12-day wait.
The partners see the health care landscape becoming more bleak for small business owners as Obamacare, which never really worked well for their demographic to begin with, falls apart.
With the elimination of the Obamacare mandate last year, the partners don’t believe as many families in the region will have health insurance at all. That opens up a larger market for uninsured patients who need access to affordable services like their pricing for an MRI.
The facility will offer scans at an affordable price: $595 for scans that do not require contrast and $899 for scans that do require contrast. Until the end of January, they are offering deep discounts to celebrate their grand opening. Scans without contrast are just $399 and with contrast $799. You need to make your appointment before January 31 to get the discounted pricing.
Offering high contrast scans is a big deal, Reichenau explained. Many doctors request them and Angelo MRI’s equipment is state-of-the-art that can provide the kind of modern imagery doctors are prescribing today.
Angelo MRI operates the Siemens 1.5 MAGNETOM Espree system with Tim™, Open system. It will be as powerful as the strongest magnet in San Angelo and stronger than the system at MDI of Abilene, a similar facility.
“Our open system allows patients of all sizes to have a comfortable exam,” Reichenau said.
“Our patients will save up to 75% compared to area costs – a savings of literally hundreds, or even thousands of dollars,” said Reichenau. “Many factors contribute to this, not the least of which is that we don’t have the overhead costs that major medical centers do.”
According to Reichenau, Angelo MRI strives to provide same- or next-day service.
“Currently, patients in this area wait several days and sometimes up to two weeks to be seen,” he said. “Our goal is to provide prompt service with fast, accurate results delivered directly to physicians within two to 24 hours.”
Angelo MRI teamed up with Blue Star Radiology, the official radiologists of the Dallas Cowboys, who will interpret the scans and work with local physicians for a confident diagnosis.
The Certified, Registered Technologist for Angelo MRI will be Rudy De La Cruz, who was previously with Shannon Medical Center for 27 years. Managing the office is Susan Davis who has years of experience in medical administration.
Still, the partners admit that their company faces an uphill battle to gain traction. All hospitals, with their emergency rooms, have a built-in supply of customers. Angelo MRI doesn’t.
His 30-second elevator pitch begins with addressing the biggest concern for many patients in the region: their pocketbook.
“I can give you an MRI for less than your co-pay on health insurance,” Reichenau said.
To learn more about the only independent MRI facility in San Angelo, visit their website.