The team at Doctors MRI. From left: Kevin Sutter, Co-owner & CEO; Rhonda Sherrer, Co-owner, Practice Administrator, Technologist; Melissa Veal, Marketing Director; Angela Smith, Administrative Assistant.

Before they opened Doctors MRI in Lawton, Okla, Rhonda Sherrer and her business partner Kevin Sutter tapped into this reality: Many patients in southwest Oklahoma and north Texas couldn’t afford to pay thousands of dollars for an MRI. Whether these patients were uninsured or forced to pay high deductibles, many of them were left without an option to be treated.

That’s why since Doctors MRI opened in October 2008, the practice has provided MRIs to patients for $599—a flat rate that includes the interpretation and contrast—to a community that includes soldiers and their families at Ft Sill, a US Army post, farmers, and the employees of several large manufacturing plants in the area.

“Our ability to provide a high-quality MRI for $599 to our surrounding community came as a welcome surprise—and shock—to many in our area,” said Sherrer. “The fact is we could get paid more for the services we provide at Doctors MRI, but our mission is to provide a high-quality, low-cost service to the community.”

Doctors MRI, which is an ACR-accredited facility, is able to keep its costs low because the practice runs a smart, lean facility that has also provided x-ray services since November 2010, according to Sherrer. Featuring the services of a team of four radiologists—which includes a musculoskeletal specialist and a neuroradiologist—and supported by three to four staff members, Doctors MRI is able to keep overhead low because the entire staff is “committed to doing whatever it takes to get the job done,” she said.

While patients certainly have access to a more cost-effective alternative at Doctors MRI, there’s no sacrifice made when it comes to quality, said Sherrer. “Patients and referring physicians can rest assured that patients have access to the same quality scanner at Doctors MRI as the industry standard.”

But it’s also the personal touch provided by staff members that makes patients feel comfortable at Doctors MRI, which accepts Medicare, Medicaid, TRICARE (which serves the military and their families), as well as many private insurance plans. “We have a small, friendly staff and feature a modern updated facility and parking. Patients are taken on time—they’re not shuffled around. If there’s a co-pay, they know it up front—and there’s minimal paperwork,” said Sherrer, who notes that exam volume at Doctors MRI increases 40% each year.

“Perhaps most important is the fact that patients can expect to get their results within 24 hours. If there’s a need for a stat read, we can make sure that one of our radiologists has the study within 15 to 20 minutes,” she said.

Doctors MRI
5366 NW Cache Road, Suite 4
Lawton, OK 73505
(580) 354-1200

Physicians can gain online access to their images and reports, and the practice provides an online payment option for patients. Further, patients and referring physicians can have an open line of communication with radiologists, said Sherrer.

Because staff members take on much of the administrative work associated with radiology exams—such as pre-authorization—Doctors MRI is a convenient, service-oriented alternative for patients and referring physicians alike. Sherrer also notes that the practice is willing to work with patients to create payment plans—even if that means patients are paying $50 a month.

Whether it’s a soldier on his way back from Afghanistan who is just passing through Ft. Sill on his way to his family, or a cotton farmer who has lived in the area for generations, Doctors MRI provides a cost-effective, friendly, and convenient experience.

Aine Cryts is a contributing writer for Axis Imaging News.