Fraser Health is purchasing two private magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) clinics to provide medically necessary exams to patients throughout the Fraser Valley.
These purchases are part of the government’s Surgical and Diagnostic Imaging Strategy.
“People have been waiting too long for publicly funded diagnostic services,” said Adrian Dix, Minister of Health. “That’s why we are adding these clinics to the public health-care system, so we can to cut waitlists and deliver services for people closer to home.”
Effective Oct. 1, 2018, Fraser Health is taking ownership of two privately owned MRI clinics, Surrey MRI in Surrey and Fraser Valley MRI Clinic in Abbotsford. Clinic staff will become health authority employees, with Fraser Health assuming assets and infrastructure. Both clinics will start providing publicly funded exams within a month.
Under the new B.C. Surgical and Diagnostic strategy, the Province is on track to increase the number of MRIs by more than 37,000, for a total of 225,000, by March 31, 2019. In addition to this total, these newly acquired clinics will provide 2,000 more exams. They will deliver 10,000 exams annually, starting April 1, 2019.
“A year ago, there was just one public MRI operating 24/7, and this year there are eight. Overall, we have added 800 MRI operating hours throughout the province, helping more patients get on the path to recovery faster,” said Dix.
The expansion of the public system with these two additional MRI clinics will increase the number of MRIs operating in Fraser Health to nine. In 2019, new MRIs also are coming for Ridge Meadows Hospital in Maple Ridge, Jim Pattison Outpatient Care and Surgery Centre in Surrey and Langley Memorial Hospital.
“MRI scans play an essential and, at times, life-saving role in patient care. Purchasing these MRI clinics will significantly increase our ability to provide publicly funded MRI scans,” said Michael Marchbank, Fraser Health president and CEO. “These two MRIs will give our patients faster access to this important diagnostic tool, and improve wait times for people in our growing health-care region.”
Each clinic will add capacity for approximately 5,000 additional MRI scans per year resulting in lower wait times and improved services for Fraser Health patients. To support each clinic, additional staff will be hired and operating hours will be expanded to include evenings and weekends to improve patient access to services.
- Following a short transition period, the new clinics will start seeing patients in early 2019.
- Fraser Health is expected to complete 63,000 MRI scans in 2018-19. Three new scanners will add 22,500 more scans annually in addition to more than 10,000 scans from the two clinic locations being purchased Oct. 1, 2018.
- An MRI scan is a tool used to diagnose a number of medical conditions, including abnormalities of the brain, organs in the chest and abdomen and soft tissue injuries. MRIs are also used to monitor treatment for and the condition of tumours, liver disease and heart problems.