RICHFIELD — Smart Choice MRI started in Milwaukee to provide residents with a cost effective way to get MRIs. The company is bringing that same formula to Richfield to save Washington County residents money on diagnostic imaging services.
“It came out of a personal story. One of our founding member’s father was suffering from cancer, so what our founder saw was an egregious use of radiology,' Stoll said. “They would increase the price of radiology to offset the cost of emergency rooms, cancer pavilions and cardiac care.”
“What happened was he said ‘Well, I think I can do this at a more cost-effective rate.’” The first clinic was in west Milwaukee.
The cost for an MRI at Smart Choice is $600 and it’s a flat rate for all exams whether patients have insurance or are self-funded.
Stoll said the average cost for an MRI in Wisconsin last year was about $3,000, and between their Milwaukee and Sheboygan locations, they have saved residents about $60 million since Smart Choice MRI opened in 2006. “So, it’s a significant savings given that we’ve seen over 40,000 patients in our time,” Stoll said.
John Hosni of Cedarburg used Smart Choice MRI in Milwaukee because he was having issues in his right elbow because of a workrelated injury. He said he wanted to get a second opinion and his doctor ordered an MRI, but it wasn’t covered through worker’s compensation insurance. Hosni asked if he could go to Smart Choice MRI.
“Everything about it was easy and cheap. Everyone was great to work with,” Hosni said.
The MRI at Smart Choice MRI in Richfield is energy efficient GE Healthcare Signa HD 1.5T MR. She said it’s the state-of-the-art piece of equipment.
“It’s better than what most hospitals have and it’s really a fantastic piece of equipment,” Stoll said.
Stoll said an MRI is really a giant camera. MRI is short for magnetic resonance imaging and an MRI is a medical imaging procedure that uses strong magnetic fields and radio waives to produce cross-sectional images of organs and internal structures of the body. An electrical current is passed through coiled wires to create a temporary magnetic field around a patient’s body.
Radio waves are sent from and received by the transmitter in the machine. The signals produce digital images of the area of interest, according to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.
MRI machines are tube-shaped magnets and the average scan lasts 35 minutes, Stoll said.
She said five employees will be hired to serve patients at Smart Choice MRI in Richfield.
Stoll said patients are referred to Smart Choice MRI by a doctor and people typically get MRIs for sports-related injuries. She said neurologists also send patients to Smart Choice MRI to look for conditions like Parkinson’s disease or tumors.
Smart Choice MRI, 3010 Helsan Drive, is slated to open Jan. 30 in Richfield. Richfield was chosen because Smart Choice MRI grew in the Milwaukee metropolitan area and Stoll said they reached capacity in Milwaukee.
“It’s the 41/45 interchange. It gives access from people from Fond du Lac and we can serve the community here in Washington County, which is very important,” Stoll said.
Hosni said he would encourage Washington County residents to check out Smart Choice for financial reasons and it does the same job as the hospital would do.
“We’re really excited to be here and open the doors and be another resource for the community,” Stoll said.