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Enjoy these tips, tricks and insights that answer 100's of questions we've received from radiology and imaging professionals that need help buying, selling, servicing and maintaining their medical imaging equipment: MRI, CT, C-Arm, Digital X-ray, PET/CT and Women's Health. We extend the life of imaging equipment so that healthcare providers worldwide can extend the lives of patients. This is why we answer your imaging equipment questions.

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MRI Service Contracts: What’s Not Included?

Posted by Jordan Batterbee

Mar 21, 2012 3:52:00 PM

While “boilerplate” enjoys the easy, widespread usage of many of its idiomatic brethren, it bears deeper consideration than “the bee’s knees” or even “a taste of one’s own medicine”. What may seem like a given to one man may be a “bone of contention” (see what I did there?) to another. That’s why we at Block Imaging Parts & Service want to make sure you walk into your next MRI service contract purchase with a clear understanding of common, but negotiable, exclusions. Let’s begin!

Chillers

It might sound like semantics, given their close relationship with MRIs, but Chillers are not medical imaging equipment. They are technically HVAC equipment. Many chillers are generic, serving multiple systems, or are pre-existing equipment from a previous MRI or CT scanner.  These circumstances introduce variables that are related more to the management of your facility than the actual functionality of your MRI. Chiller equipment is better kept by contracting with an HVAC vendor for regular maintenance.

Cryogens (After Set Limits)

Because all MRIs burn off some of their coolant, most MRI service contracts will cover replacing coolant up to a set amount. Block Imaging contracts cover the first 2000 liters, more than any system is likely to burn through in a year. In the event that a problem with an MRI causes it to burn coolant at a colossal rate, your service company will bill you for any coolant needed over the contract limit.

Unexplained Quenches

What I’m about to say probably isn’t very reassuring, but it’s true: sometimes magnet quenches just happen. Not every quench can be traced back to failed parts or missed maintenance. If a magnet quenches, a good service provider will get the machine up and running again as fast as possible. Afterward, they’ll check the machine component by component to find the source of the failure. If everything is in working order, there’s good news and bad news. The good news is that your MRI isn’t actually broken. The bad news is if there’s no mechanical explanation for the quench, the service call to get it going again will be billable to you.

Applications Support

Here’s a simple analogy to help explain this one: If you bought a car with a warranty, you wouldn’t expect the dealership to teach you how to drive it, would you? Not at all. The same is true of your MRI. Applications support is not related to the functionality of your system, but rather your ability to operate it. While most contracts will not cover apps support, talk to your provider about it. They may be able to refer you to an apps training company.

Software/Manuals

Your MRI’s operating software is proprietary information, the rights to which are held by the manufacturer of the equipment. Your service provider will be happy to reload and configure the software that came with your system in the event of software corruption or data loss, but if you’ve lost your software disks or purchased a machine without them, you’ll have to turn to the OEM to get replacements.

The same is true of manuals. This is information that third-party vendors are not at liberty to distribute freely, even to contract customers.

Environmental Failures

There are factors outside of your service provider’s control that can cause MRI problems. These factors are usually excluded from all imaging equipment service agreements.

Here are a couple of examples relative to MRI:

In addition to a functional chiller and strong helium levels, MRIs also need to be operated in cool rooms. If your thermostat fails and the room gets too hot, your provider won’t cover the MRI problems that result from your HVAC problems.

Similarly, if an urban development project puts up an el-train too close to your building and the vibrations cause noise in your images, you’re better off contacting City Hall than your service provider.

Acts of God

This is the great-granddaddy of all exclusions! If the almighty has seen fit to blow the roof off your clinic with a tornado or drown all your valuable electronics in a flash flood, your lowly mortal service provider is in no position to argue with him. As we mentioned above: there are factors outside of your service provider’s control that can cause MRI problems.

Systems Under 80% Helium

This isn’t so much exclusion as preclusion. If you’re in search of a contract, your provider will want to see a strong helium level before the contract begins. Most providers will offer a billable service call to refill your helium and set the start date of your contract shortly after the refill.

That’s a LOT of Exclusions! So What Exactly IS Covered?

We know that was quite a bit to chew on. We’re sorry! Please don’t take this article to mean that we don’t recommend signing up for MRI service; quite the opposite is true. The list of 8 exclusions above is absolutely dwarfed by the number of parts a contract protects and the number of potential problems that are “nipped in the bud” (Sorry again! I just can’t stop with the idioms!) by the regular maintenance visits included.

Please also keep in mind that these exclusions are negotiable! Talk things over with your service sales rep. If there’s a feature you absolutely don’t want to go without, it could potentially be added to the “boilerplate”.

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Written by Jordan Batterbee

author of blog post

Jordan Batterbee is the SEO Copywriter at Block Imaging. He loves to research, write, and help others get clear, concise, and (hopefully) fun answers to their medical imaging questions.

Topics: Imaging Equipment Service, MRI, Used Medical Imaging Equipment

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