Economic Liberty
July 31, 2018

Dr. Gajendra Singh founded Forsyth Imaging Center to provide that transparency and affordability.

Dr. Singh treats his patients like family. His career as a surgeon in Winston-Salem, North Carolina, has always been about taking care of others. So Dr. Singh listened when his patients told him they were struggling to afford the high cost of imaging services like MRI scans in his area. In fact, MRIs cost—on average—close to $2,000 at a hospital in North Carolina. Worse, Dr. Singh’s patients also reported being surprised with multiple bills for the same scan. They would never know up front how much they were going to have to pay for a simple procedure. For an MRI scan, for instance, hospitals will often charge separate fees for the procedure itself, the radiologist’s reading fee and the dye used in the procedure.

Dr. Singh decided there had to be a better way, so he opened Forsyth Imaging Center in 2017 to provide X-rays, ultrasounds, echocardiograms, CT scans and MRI scans at affordable prices that patients could see up front. Patients can pay cash or use insurance, and they always know exactly how much they are going to be charged ($500 to $700 for an MRI scan, for example).

As with any startup, getting Forsyth up and running was expensive. But these expenses have been exacerbated by artificial constraints on Dr. Singh’s ability to recover costs: Instead of buying an MRI scanner, Dr. Singh is forced to rent a mobile scanner on a trailer at an enormous cost. And even then, mobile MRI scanners are required by law to be moved at least once a week, which means Dr. Singh cannot provide reliable access to MRI scans. The freedom to purchase a fixed MRI scanner—which would be available for use every day, on demand—would put Forsyth on much sturdier financial ground and reduce its operating overhead.

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