Frequently Asked Questions
Hours of Operation:
Scheduled imaging studies: 7:00 a.m. - 7:00 p.m.
X-Rays: 8:45 a.m. - 4:45 p.m.
1. May I get a copy of my films and report? Is there any cost to this?
Many of our referring doctors have made arrangements for us to print your medical imaging films and send them via courier to their office. Generally we do this free of charge. However, because of the costs associated with this, we will print one copy of the films of any imaging study for the patient to take to referring physicians.The films do not need to be returned to our facility. There will be a charge of $10 per sheet of film for additional copies beyond the first courtesy copy. The patient may keep these films as part of their personal medical record. We will, however, at no charge, burn a CD of any imaging study for the patient. Copies of the reports are automatically forwarded to the referring physicians, however, if a patient needs to pick up films and/or a report to go to a physician outside of town, they simply need to indicate who they are taking them to, and we will mail them ahead of time. If they need to pick them up, we need to track where images and reports are being sent. If a patient has multiple examinations, we ask the patient give us a 24-48 hour heads-up to print the films so that there is ample time prior to the scheduled appointment to prepare that medical record.
2. How long do you keep records on file?
We keep records on file by standards of the American College of Radiology. Generally 7 years unless it's a minor, in which case would be their age of maturation or 18 years old, and then an additional 7 years. Other specialized imaging studies are kept for a longer period of time. All records regarding mammograms including the acquisition of breast tissue will be archived indefinitely and made available to be printed as needed. All records are stored on site at 1700 S. Court St., Visalia, CA 93277.
3. I don't have medical insurance. Can I get a price quote?
To get a price quote, you simply need to find out exactly what your doctor has ordered. We will be happy to provide you a price quote. For people who have absolutely no medical insurance and are willing to pay the entire cost of their examination at the time of service, we offer a 30% discount. Payment plans are available. There will be an 8% discount, and after initial down payment, a monthly amount can be negotiated.
4. How soon can I schedule an appointment? Can I fit my appointment into my work schedule?
Many of our examinations may be scheduled on the same day as the order or easily within one week. Our office hours are from 7:00 a.m. until 6:00 p.m., so we can work with your busy work schedule. If a patient needs a special appointment time, simply speak to either the scheduler or the administrative director. Many exam's are offered in the late evening and weekends.
5. How will I feel after the examination?
Most of our examinations are done on an out-patient basis. There are no side effects whatsoever. People sometimes receive contrast injections during these examinations, but once again, they have no generalized medical problem following such examinations. Should you receive a contrast injection, we do ask you to drink plenty of fluids, especially water following the examination, and if you have any problems, please contact us.
6. Can I have an x-ray when I'm breast-feeding?
This is a two-fold answer. Generalized x-ray procedures, such as MRI, CT, ultrasound, and generalized diagnostic x-rays may be performed while a patient is breast-feeding. Mammography, however, is not done while a patient is breast-feeding. If a woman is due for her annual screening mammography and is currently breast-feeding, we will wait until she has ceased breast-feeding to reschedule the examination.
7. Are x-rays safe? How much radiation gets into my body?
This question cannot be answered as a generalized question. Are X-rays safe? We are a diagnostic medical facility licensed by the State of California and the Department of Health Services, and one of our responsibilities as such is to provide the lowest dose of radiation that is possible during any diagnostic medical imaging study. How much radiation used depends upon the type of study done and many other factors.
8. How is an MRI different from a CT scan?
MRI is magnetic resonance imaging whereby high-strength magnetic fields and radio frequencies are used. This does not use any type of x-ray energy or radiation in any form. The CT scan (computed tomography) does use x-ray as the basis of its method to produce diagnostic images, but they are significantly enhanced via computerized algorithms.
9. In what part of the body will I get injected with contrast, and how long does contrast stay in my body?
There are two different types of contrast currently used at this facility. An injection is generally given in the vein of the arm, very similar to a blood test. The two types of contrast that we use are for: 1) CT computed tomography examinations, 2) MRI studies, and 3) IVPs. All of these use medications which are injected into the vein of the arm. Generally, for both CT and IVP, the patient is asked to be NPO (fasting for a small period of time). The medication used for CT examination and IVP examination is non-ionic iodinated contrast material. The medication used for MRI is called gadolinium, and it has no secondary side effects. We do have some studies where an intrathecal injection or an arthrogram could be done for an MRI study in which we want to look at the joint. In these cases, a very tiny, thin needle is placed into the joint of an area such as the shoulder or the back to be able to visualize those specific areas.
10. Why do I need to bring my previous films?
It is important for you to let your physician, as well as us who provide diagnostic medical imaging, know where you have had previous imaging studies performed. The best examination that we can perform is when a comparison is made and any change in body structures is noted over time. This is particularly important in mammography where women very often have mammographic procedures on a yearly basis. Very small subtle changes can be detected when you compare the studies over time.
11. Can ultrasound be harmful to my baby?
Diagnostic medical sonography is an examination that uses high-frequency sound waves to image internal organs and has a particular focus in many instances for obstetrical ultrasound. To date, it has been in use for over 40 years. In evaluating all research studies to date, there is no biological harm to the developing fetus when ultrasound is performed. We do all diagnostic medical examinations upon the order of a physician. We will not do diagnostic medical ultrasounds for non-medical reasons, such as to provide imaging of the fetus for a baby book or to view the fetus merely out of curiosity. Because we treat all diagnostic medical imaging as serious business, we perform these examinations with a great deal of responsibility in mind to the patient. We utilize the various diagnostic imaging modalities under the direction of both the referring physician and our radiologists who are specially trained in these areas.
12. Can a family member or friend be with me during the exam?
Generally, the answer is yes. We will make special arrangements for someone to be in your room during a medical examination. However, during those examinations such as CT (computed tomography) or diagnostic X-ray procedure, because we utilize x-ray energy we strongly discourage family members from being in the room. Very often, parents like to be with their children during a procedure, and we will provide additional radiation safety for them.
13. Why should I go to Visalia Imaging instead of other centers in the area?
This center is the specialized medical practice of a group of radiologists in Visalia. This is their medical practice that they developed to offer a choice to the citizens of Visalia, Tulare, and Kings Counties. They have provided a very patient-focused center that deals primarily with out-patients with the best technology and the best medical professionals to attend to the diagnostic imaging needs of this population. This center is centrally located and has ample parking. The focus is on the patient and working with the patient and their referring physician to get complex medical questions answered in a timely manner without the wait. Because the entire center is focused on customer service and meeting the medical demands of the out-patient, improved customer service has been achieved.