Archive for ‘News’

April 14, 2015

We Love… KC C.A.R.E. One-Day Free Clinic!

the dr is inKansas City is hosting a FREE one-day clinic, open to all who need it. Here are the details:

For the medically underserved in the area, a team of local medical organizations including Diagnostic Imaging Centers is coming together to provide free healthcare on Saturday, April 18th at Bartle Hall from 10a-5p. No one will be turned away.

The National Association of Free & Charitable Clinics in conjunction with the Kansas City C.A.R.E. (Communities Are Responding Everyday) Clinic is bringing this special day to those in need in Kansas City. We are proud to be working with these great organizations.

At the C.A.R.E. Clinic, services offered will include: medical exams, medical tests (diabetes, cholesterol, pregnancy, HIV and EKGs), prescription medications, kidney screenings, and behavioral health care. Additionally, services to help with health insurance navigation, follow-up care, and health education are available that day.

While mobile mammography units will not be available on-site the day of the event, vouchers will be provided to women who cannot afford a mammogram with the vouchers providing a free mammogram at any of Diagnostic Imaging Centers’ six conveniently located outpatient offices.

The free screening mammogram vouchers are being provided thanks to our partnership with the Breast Cancer Survivors Foundation which is committed to “helping women survive.” The Foundation offers grants to clinics nationwide for screenings and mammograms for the uninsured and underinsured.

With scheduled or walk-in services and immediate results, Diagnostic Imaging Centers aims to take some of the frustration and worry out of breast imaging. Quick and easy, it’s approximately 20 minutes from check-in to check-out for a screening mammogram. Almost worry free!

To date, the Breast Cancer Survivors Foundation has helped over 11,000 women receive breast care since its inception in 2010. To learn more about their services, please visit www.breastcancersurvivor.org. Diagnostic Imaging Centers takes care of the women of Kansas City to the tune of over 50,000 mammograms per year- a number that has been steadily increasing over the last fifty plus years of service to our community.

More details about the C.A.R.E. Clinic can be found here. To learn more about breast health, visit www.mammographykc.com.

February 9, 2015

Medicare: A Life-Saving Screening Now Covered

CT chestThis past week brought great news for Medicare patients! Medicare is now covering the cost of low-dose screening CT chests in selected patients. Screening with low-dose CT chest has been shown to save lives with the ability to diagnose lung cancer when it is small and more treatable.

Here are the details:

WHO is covered?

  •         Must be between 55 and 77 years of age
  •         Must be a current smoker or have quit smoking in the past 15 years
  •         Must have smoked the equivalent of 30 pack years (that means 1 pack a day for 30 years or 2 packs per day for 15 years, or any other such combination)

WHAT steps are needed for coverage?

  •         Must have a  visit with their referring physician or nurse practitioner prior to the CT for “a shared-decision making/smoking cessation counseling session prior to being referred for their first screening exam.” This is not needed for studies after the first.
  •         Must have an order from the doctor or nurse practitioner.

HOW is the test done?

  •         This is a quick,  non-contrast CT of the chest done with low dose.
  •         This is part of a total program to reduce lung cancer risk, including the most important part – a goal of smoking cessation.
  •         The test is a screening test – meaning, if something is found (about 10% of the time) something else may be recommended – this could mean further imaging, including a CT chest with contrast, PET imaging or short-term follow up CT studies, or could mean a lung biopsy.
  •         This is intended to be repeated annually.
  •         Sites providing coverage must meet many requirements, including specifications on dose and follow-up of patients.

The possibility of decreasing the number of deaths from lung cancer by getting patients into a screening program is exciting.

 

If you or someone you know fits the above criteria, get an appointment with your doctor.  If it’s a loved one, you may be the voice that prompts their action!

 

Screening of smokers with low-dose CT chest is a huge leap forward in the fight against lung cancer.

 

 

 

Diagnostic Imaging Centers blogs on regularly about women’s health at www.mammographykc.com and general radiology at www.diagnosticimagingcenterskc.com. Visit our sites for more helpful information!

September 29, 2014

Do you like to save money? Medical costs and quality care…

Kitten by Michael Richardson via Flickr (CC BY 2.0) note derivWhen it comes to lowering medical costs – the power can be in your hands! (Would you believe it? Because it doesn’t always feel that way…). The old motto about the customer always being right (customer = patient = you) is true. Shopping around can have a profound effect on the market, both in terms of pricing and level of quality. But this only matters IF you know you have options…

 

Price transparency in medicine is a relatively new concept. With payment of physicians, hospitals and other health-care providers done by insurance, most of us have never known how much a particular office visit, lab test or procedure actually costs. Those times are changing.

 

In the journal Health Affairs, a study titled “Price Transparency For MRIs Increased Use Of Less Costly Providers And Triggered Provider Competition” caught our eyes. (And not just because it was in the New York Times, though it was.) This study showed that when the cost of an MRI was known, going to the less costly provider happened more often. Makes perfect sense to us!

 

Price transparency makes sense because:

 

Reason number one: Patients aren’t always aware they have a choice in where to go for medical tests including imaging. Costs can vary greatly – sometimes by a factor of ten. If you pay a percentage of the cost of the test, the less a test costs, the less you pay. Simple math.

 

Reason number two: The math isn’t always simple though if you can’t get the numbers. Getting accurate pricing information can be a challenge, particularly from hospitals and large health-care enterprises. Does the price include all charges? Sometimes impossible to tell until after the billing starts.

 

We believe getting accurate, complete pricing information on the tests you are about to undergo is your right.

 

Price transparency in medicine – the time has come.

 

 

(Image attribution: Kitten! by Michael Richardson via Flickr Copyright Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic (CC BY 2.0) note: derivative work)

 

 

Diagnostic Imaging Centers blogs on regularly about women’s health at www.mammographykc.com and general radiology at www.diagnosticimagingcenterskc.com. Visit our sites for more helpful information!

 

September 10, 2014

Diagnostic Imaging Centers Health and Wellmobile Launch

LH at HW launchIf you haven’t heard the radio ads (on Cumulus stations), or read our most recent blogs… We’re embarking on an awesome collaboration:

 

Diagnostic Imaging Center’s Health and Wellmobile!

 

So, what is this magical creation? The Health & Wellmobile is a traveling toolkit full of wonderful educational materials and even some exam opportunities. It will be all around Kansas City at 300-500 events throughout the coming year, appearing at everything from local races, community events, sporting events and even at our clinic locations.

 

We are thrilled to be partners with WINS Wellness/CareWorx, Rawxies, SunFresh Markets, Title Boxing and Hendrick Buick GMC Cadillac on this area-wide initiative!

 

The Health & Wellmobile launched this morning at Union Station downtown and has already made a few appearances about town. Our own Dr. Linda Harrison introduced our project and we’re very proud to be part of this initiative towards a healthier Kansas City!

 

More details in the future as we merrily roll along!

 

If you have interest in learning more – or you want the Wellmobile at one of your events – please do contact us at:

socialmedia.dic (at) gmail (dot) com.

 

 

September 5, 2014

Come and Welcome Diagnostic Imaging Centers, P.A.’s Health and Wellmobile with us!

HealhWellmobile_Launch_Evite

June 25, 2014

Lung Cancer Screening Gets Another Leg Up

Symbol kept vote Green by Zorglub via Wikimedia Commons Copyright Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 UnportedThe votes in support of low-dose screening CT chest for high risk smokers are growing. Recently the American Medical Association – the largest association of doctors from all specialties in the US – added their support to guidelines recommending this potentially life-saving exam.

 

Lung cancer is a killer. In the US, lung cancer causes more deaths than breast + prostate + colon cancer – more deaths than all of those cancers combined! Studies on low-dose CT screening (the National Lung Screening Trial) showed early detection saves lives! There was a 20% reduction in deaths in heavy smokers from lung cancer due to CT screening in this study. This is why low dose chest CT is so crucial. Finding lung cancer early, when it is potentially treatable is the goal of screening.

 

As accredited members of the American College of Radiology, we are thrilled that the ACR is fighting to support the recommendations of the United States Preventative Services Task Force for high-risk patients. (Read all about it here.) The Task Force recommended coverage beginning January 2015 for high risk patients, including those 55-80 years with significant smoking histories (defined as greater than a 30 pack-year history of smoking) or for those who were former heavy smokers who have quit in the last 15 years. The Task Force recommendations will apply to those patients with insurance.

 

The fight for coverage of Medicare patients is still on-going, and is the focus of the ACR and other groups. The Medicare Evidence Development and Coverage Advising Committee made a controversial stand against support of low-dose CT screening early this year. Medicare will make its final vote in the fall. We think including Medicare patients in coverage for this important, potentially life-saving exam is crucial.

Make your voice heard – add your vote in favor of low-dose screening CT chest for all who will benefit- including Medicare patients! Contact your local congresspersons (here) and let them know you agree.

(Image credit: Symbol kept vote Green by Zorglub via Wikimedia Commons Copyright Creative CommonsAttribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported)

 

Diagnostic Imaging Centers blogs on regularly about women’s health atwww.mammographykc.com and general radiology atwww.diagnosticimagingcenterskc.com. Visit our sites for more helpful information!

 

May 1, 2014

Lung Cancer Screening and (New) Recommendations

smoking kills by André Hengst via Flickr Copyright Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 2.0 Generic (CC BY-NC-SA 2.0)When it comes to cancer, lung cancer leads the list of the most deadly for men and women in the US. Fighting this disease has been an uphill battle, impeded by the fact that most patients are not diagnosed until late in their disease. Having an effective screening test to identify lung cancer when it is small and treatable has been a goal for years – the development of low-dose CT chest for the screening for lung cancer has brought hope.

 

We are therefore profoundly disappointed that the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS)’s Medicare Evidence Development and Coverage Advisory Committee (MEDCAC) did not vote to recommend Medicare coverage of low-dose CT screening. Their primary concern is not that is does not find cancer, but that it will find too many things that are not cancer.

 

We disagree with the CMS, as do other (more important!) groups in the US. The United States Preventative Services Task Force (their statement can be found here) recently recommended coverage. This is critical, as those preventive services deemed appropriate by the Task Force are mandated to be covered under the Affordable Care Act. What does that mean? A double standard – those with health insurance will be covered, those with Medicare will not if the CMS acts on the recommendations of their advisory committee.

 

One of the (many!) advocates of low-dose CT screening is the American College of Radiology (their statement can be found here). The ACR supports the use of screening CT chests in those patients at the highest risk – in other words, heavy smokers or heavy former smokers. The National Lung Screening Trial found that there was a 20% reduction in deaths for heavy smokers due to screening (the trial report can be found here). That’s no small number. The ACR is working on developing uniform guidelines to help with interpretation and to reduce the number of false findings – those that seemed to concern the Advisory Committee.

 

Luckily, the CMS is not bound by the recommendations of MEDCAC and action based on the recommendation isn’t expected until late fall of this year. We hope that reevaluation of the data occurs between now and then, so that Medicare patients are covered.

 

If you’d like to know more about lung cancer and what you can do about it, we recommend checking out Free to Breathe. Eliminating the use of tobacco is a larger goal which will more profoundly affect lung cancer in the US – if you smoke, get help to stop.

Imagine attribution: smoking kills by André Hengst via Flickr Copyright Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 2.0 Generic (CC BY-NC-SA 2.0)

Diagnostic Imaging Centers blogs on regularly about women’s health atwww.mammographykc.com and general radiology atwww.diagnosticimagingcenterskc.com. Visit our sites for more helpful information!

April 3, 2014

Brain Boost: Kids and Screens

Computer by yoshimov via Flickr Copyright Creative Commons Attribution-NoDerivs 2.0 Generic (CC BY-ND 2.0)

Computer by yoshimov via Flickr Copyright Creative Commons Attribution-NoDerivs 2.0 Generic (CC BY-ND 2.0)

Bringing children into the world brings organized chaos to your life. There are things they do on a regular basis, like eat and sleep – and things we cannot regulate at all, like moods, personalities and learning curves. There is one certainty – they will keep growing and changing, especially when you think you’ve figured them out.

 

As parents, we struggle to manage the unmanageable. We try to get them to go to bed at a certain hour, we try to get them to eat at dinner time and we try to get them to want healthy foods.

 

In the middle of all that trying comes another interruption to their cycles: technology. It entertains the cranky, exercises the brain and distracts, separating the user from the world outside the screen. It’s a gift and a burden.

 

Recently, the Washington Post wrote an excellent article on kids and screentime. In short, just as we carefully monitor their diets for a balance of good food and the occasional treat, absorption of a healthy media diet is in order too.

 

It doesn’t take a scientific study to know that there are times to turn off the television and go get some playful exercise outdoors (but there are many). But as iPads have turned into flipbooks for three year olds and texting is more than just a game to many teenagers, it can become hard to judge just how much time spent on these devices is time well spent.

 

The American Academy of Pediatrics has some great guidelines they’ve researched when it comes to the media intake of children. When it comes to hard facts and numbers, here’s what we learned from writer Kendall Powell:

 

Develop a family media plan and stick to it!

 

●Enforce consistent rules about screen time from the start.

●Keep all screens and Internet out of the bedroom.

●Impose meal time restrictions and bedtime curfews for everyone’s devices (yours too!).

●Watch or explore media content with children.

 

While wrangling the chaos of a household is hard (to put it mildly), managing a little more of what goes into the heads and hands of little ones can produce happier, healthier children. And that’s an effort well worth making.

 

 

Diagnostic Imaging Centers blogs on regularly about women’s health at www.mammographykc.com and general radiology at www.diagnosticimagingcenterskc.com. Visit our sites for more helpful information!

February 18, 2014

Smoking kills – Seriously, In More Ways Than One!

Smoking Kills by Vanderloot ∴ via Flickr Copyright Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 2.0 Generic (CC BY-SA 2.0)

Smoking Kills by Vanderloot ∴ via Flickr Copyright Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 2.0 Generic (CC BY-SA 2.0)

We typically don’t go for sensationalized article titles (there’s plenty of that out there without having to drum up extra) but the recent word from the Surgeon General’s office is serious.

USA Today quoted Thomas Frieden, director of the CDC as saying, “Amazingly, smoking is even worse than we knew – even after 50 years we’re still finding new ways that smoking maims and kills people.”

In this year, the fiftieth anniversary of the Surgeon General’s office calling tobacco what it is – a killer, the report (which can be found here) enumerates the sins of the smoke. Most people know that tobacco contains known carcinogens, and is related to lung and other head and neck cancers. The damage of smoking to the lungs is widely known and acknowledged. The acceleration of vascular disease and the association between smoking and cardiovascular disease is well-studied and widely known.

The more widespread effects of tobacco are less well known, and new associations are increasingly being recognized. The surgeon general in this report concluded that smoking is causally-linked – many smoking can directly cause -diabetes, liver and colorectal cancers. These are fairly recent additions to the list of diseases and damage from smoking.

The body – from the top of your head to the bottom of your toes and all parts between – is harmed by tobacco and smoking. Did you know smoking is related to macular degeneration (a leading cause of blindness), erectile dysfunction, rheumatoid arthritis, growth problems in fetuses whose mothers smoke as well as cleft lips and palates? Amazing that after 50 years scientists are still uncovering more ways tobacco damages the body.

This is not intended as a public shaming campaign for smokers, but a call to health for all. We need to work together to educate and keep others from starting on the path to addiction and help those who are addicted. We know it’s not easy. Some resources for quitting can be found here.

November 8, 2013

International Day of Radiology

Wilhelm Conrad Röntgen Copyright Public Domain

Wilhelm Conrad Röntgen Copyright Public Domain

Today, November 8th, is the International Day of Radiology — Let’s Celebrate Together!

You can show your support by changing your Facebook, Twitter or Instagram profile picture for the occasion… or just print yourself a mask. (Some people are already getting silly with this – on the other side of the world even!)

So… yesterday was Madame Curie’s birthday, which we love to celebrate for so many reasons, as she was an amazing scientist and an amazing woman. Today is the anniversary of the discovery of x-rays by Wilhelm Conrad Röntgen.

X-ray technology has revolutionized medicine, from conventional x-rays to check for broken bones to other modalities, such as CT scans and mammograms, which also use x-rays to form the images. These imaging techniques based on the x-ray allow an amazing view of the internal structure of our bodies, from our heads to our toes and every part in between. In short, medicine would not be what it is today without Röntgen’s discovery.

In a move of serendipity (perhaps not an accident…), November is also Lung Cancer Awareness Month, and this year’s International Day of Radiology has a focus on lung health. We’re fans of our lungs (yours too)! On both of our blogs, we’ve written about scientific progress in imaging and early detection of lung cancer, as well as how to kick the smoking habit for the sake of good health, including breast health. Using CT techniques with low-dose, we now have a way of screening for and finding lung cancer – a method which will hopefully enable us to find smaller, more treatable lung tumors in those at high risk. Reducing risk is key – we should not lose sight of that in our celebration of lung health and imaging.

We love our jobs, based on the discoveries of amazing individuals, and through our blogs hope to educate people on how radiologists can help you on your path towards better health. We can’t imagine our world without the discovery of Röntgen – we applaud him and all the researchers in imaging since him who have had such a tremendous impact on medicine and health. Cheers, radiology!