Why we are here
Curious about the history of First Look MRI?
As a radiologist, I've always loved MRI, which is awe-inspiring
technology that allows us to see with incredible detail inside
the body. Also, it is safe, with no ionizing radiation like x-ray or CT.
Without a doubt, MRI is the medical miracle of our time. So,
after my residency, I was both humbled and excited to obtain an MRI fellowship
(i.e. extra year of training in MRI) in Cincinnati, learning
from the word-renowned MRI master, Dr. Stephen Pomeranz. After the
fellowship, I began my career as an MRI specialist in Georgia.
Over the years, a disturbing trend developed. Health systems,
hospitals, and investment firms began to purchase the independent imaging
centers and then raise the prices, sometime by a factor of 4. At the same
time, insurance companies made it increasingly difficult to obtain MRI scans,
often denying the MRI outright or mandating months of physical therapy
first. As insurance costs skyrocketed, patients switched to high
deductible plans to lower the monthly premiums, but then had to pay for the ever more expensive scans out of
pocket. MRI, the miracle innovation and most powerful tool in medicine, was becoming less affordable and
accessible. Moreover, the big companies were focused on high profits and protecting the laws to limit competition and treated the patient like a number.
But what could any one person do?
Well, I thought, I could open a clean, modern, world class MRI center and keep it simple, with one transparent price for all scans. We would not need a doctor's order
since I am a doctor and we would not take insurance. Then, individuals would finally have control over their health with easy and affordable access to powerful information.
They could find answers the same day from an independent MRI specialist without having to ask permission from a doctor and an insurance company. The MRI would offer peace of mind if it was normal and empower patients to get faster treatments if it was abnormal. Yes, that sounded right! And it would be exciting to help reduce the cost and stress of healthcare while doing what I loved.
So, in 2017, I opened the first First Look MRI center in Braselton, Georgia and have not looked back. As with anything new, the road has been rocky. But, with an amazing team
that provides the absolute best service in the world, we have grown to 3 centers and remain on a mission to make healthcare friendly, affordable, and accessible for everyone.
Thank you for helping to make it possible,
Brian P Gay, MD