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Multiple sclerosis (MS) is one of the most widespread disabling neurological conditions of young and middle-aged adults around the world. In the United States alone, it’s estimated that approximately 1 million people suffer from the disease. While currently there is no cure for MS, medicines and other treatments can help control the condition and ease some of the symptoms. The initial diagnosis and monitoring of the disease is critical in this regard. For patients, an MRI access program can help alleviate the logistical and financial pressures that come with organizing the necessary medical imaging.

For more than 30 years, the Multiple Sclerosis Association of America (MSAA) has conducted its MRI Access Program which assists with the payment of cranial (brain) and c-spine scans for qualified individuals. MSAA designates preferred providers and directs patients who qualify for the program to those providers. The plan expands accessibility to necessary imaging for the underinsured.

MSAA’s MRI Access Program helps more than 1,000 clients each year who have little or no health insurance.MS symptoms—which include extreme fatigue, loss of balance and coordination, visual problems, slurred speech, and tremors among others—affect the entire body, making initial diagnosis difficult. According to MSAA, 58% of all applicants to the program are new each year; it indicates the growing need for medical imaging for this population and growing problems with costs in the health insurance industry.

Given the critical nature of the service, Lumina Imaging is proud to be chosen as the preferred provider for the MRI access program in Northeast Ohio.

Criteria for the MRI Access Program

When looking to expand the program coverage and preferred providers, the MSAA is looking to serve its patients’ needs first. Potential providers must meet certain criteria to be considered, including fitting into a geographical area of need, a certain level of technical quality and accuracy, easily accessible facilities, and affordability.

Geographical Footprint — The MSAA needs closer locations to direct patients, who may be out of reach of other options. The goal is to limit the travel needed for a patient to get the required service and plug geographical gaps in coverage. With four locations positioned across Northeast Ohio, Lumina offers a wide area of coverage and serves a need for patients living in a wide region.

Technical Expertise — The MSAA requires preferred providers to utilize MRI systems with a minimum of 1.5 Tesla strength. Lumina easily clears the bar with hospital-grade imaging capabilities powered by the latest generation equipment.

Accessible Facilities — Many MS patients face the challenge of simply getting to the appointment. Some have constant fatigue or physical movement challenges, others are dependent on loved ones for transportation, and some may be dealing with vision issues. Lumina’s neighborhood locations feature free parking, short walks into the facility, comfortable surroundings, and a dedicated focus on the patient experience.

Controlled cost — Every member of the MSAA program needs financial assistance to secure the medical imaging services they require. The program directs patients to a preferred provider and the resulting study is paid in full directly by the MSAA. Lumina is proud to have a flat fee structure that aligns with the MSAA’s needs.

When exploring potential providers, the MSAA listens to what their clients say. They often talk about what works best for them, which providers are close, which they trust, and which are most likely to offer a comfortable, easy experience. And while clients are often the best advocates for potential providers, the MSAA also receives referrals from doctors, neurologists, and other medical professionals.

When approached about the opportunity, it wasn’t a hard decision, said Bryan Crowley, Director at Lumina Imaging.

“It was refreshing to find like-minded partners in MSAA. They are working to provide patients affordable, hospital-grade imaging that is easy to access,” he said. “We are excited to have earned the trust of such an important organization!”

Details of the MRI Access Program

As stated earlier, the program assists with the payment of cranial (brain) and c-spine MRI scans for qualified individuals who have no medical insurance or cannot afford their insurance costs and require an MRI to help determine a diagnosis of multiple sclerosis or evaluate current MS disease progression.

What is offered?

For qualified individuals who have MS or when an MS diagnosis is suspected, MSAA will provide financial assistance with:

  • New MRIs (up to $750) OR Payment for Past MRIs (up to $500)

How do I qualify?

To qualify for the MRI Access Program:

  • Meet the Income Eligibility Requirement
  • Have a confirmed MS diagnosis or seeking an MS diagnosis
  • Have not received MSAA MRI assistance within the past 24 months
  • Please avoid scheduling any new MRI appointments until a determination on your application has been made by MSAA
  • Complete the application in full, sign and return all required information to MSAA

Visit the MSAA MRI Access Plan page for complete details on the application process.

Trust Lumina for Important Medical Imaging Services

Lumina Imaging is proud to be a key partner in the MSAA’s MRI Access Program. It’s another example that illustrates our mission: to put hospital-quality, cost-effective, and easy-to-access radiology services in the hands of patients who need them.

Whether you’re an employer or a benefits provider, Lumina Imaging gives you a high-quality medical imaging option for your member population while also battling the rising cost of healthcare.

Connect with our team today to learn more.