Frequently, imaging directors looking for MRI scanner service ask us, “Does an MRI service agreement protect me from unlimited financial exposure?” If you opt for full service coverage with a quality, reputable provider, the answer should be a resounding, “Yes!”
We can't speak for every independent MRI service provider, but to help you build your expectations as you approach the service market, below are a few service contract features that we at Block Imaging are paramount to a high-quality MRI service experience: the “Three C’s”.
Getting a helium cryogen refill is less convenient and more expensive for facilities that don’t have service contracts. Contract holders have their fills booked and coordinated for them by the staff of their service company. Due to the volume of coolant they purchase for their customers, service companies are also able to buy helium at a much lower cost per liter. In the current state of helium shortage, a facility buying helium for just one or two scanners can expect to pay $30+ per liter. With the typical volume of a fill being somewhere between 500 and 750 liters, two times a year, the cost can add up quickly.
In the way of an example coverage, Block's MRI contracts include your first 1,000 liters of helium each year. An average monthly payment for an MRI service contract is substantially lower than refilling the thousands of liters required after a magnet quench.
A replacement for your scanner’s coldhead can cost thousands in parts, labor, and engineer expenses. We often hear of facilities without coverage paying $8,000 or more for the replacement process, every two years or so. In most cases, the cost of these repairs exceeds the monthly payment of a service contract. In addition, the periodic maintenance that comes as part of a service contract can identify potential issues before they become bigger problems and spare you some of the lost scans, lost patients, and lost dollars of sudden downtime.
Some full service contracts cover repair or replacement for damaged coils. Generally, this coverage stipulates that the damage be the result of regular wear and tear during the course of regular usage. As with a cryogen refill or a repair to a coldhead, buying a new coil can take you well over the monthly payment cost of a service contract. Some service companies (Block Imaging among them) also have loaner coils available to rent. This can keep your patient schedule intact while you wait for repairs to be done on yours.
As you consider your MRI service coverage and who you’ll purchase it from, take a close look at what each vendor is offering with respect to the “Three C’s”. If you sign a service agreement for total risk management, you won’t pay any more than your monthly invoice, even in the event of a major component breakdown.
If you’d like to know more about how Block Imaging's service programs work, we’re happy to help. Check out our free service buyer's guide below!