MRI Machine

St. John’s Medical Center is offering lower-cost MRIs for people with low back pain until the end of the year.

Musculoskeletal injuries are common in Jackson. Some — like an ankle sprain — may put you out of action for just a few weeks. Others can leave you down for months.

Back injuries often fall into the second category, but the diagnosis can be expensive. And in this era of high-deductible insurance plans, the cost of an MRI can be prohibitive for those who have insurance.

But for the rest of the year, St. John’s Medical Center will ease that financial burden. Anyone experiencing low-back pain can meet with their physician to discuss options. If their doctor thinks an MRI is warranted, St. John’s will offer the procedure for $750.

Though that is still a chunk of change for most people, it falls far below the out-of-pocket maximum on many health insurance plans, which can be $7,900 for an individual.

“We want to reduce the barriers to care so that all community members can receive the quality care we are able to provide at our Five Star hospital and our ACR-accredited radiology center,” St. John’s radiologist Dr. Sean Haling said in a press release.

Included in the cost of the MRI, St. John’s radiologists will interpret the information, which helps providers formulate treatment plans.

Costs may increase if contrast needs to be added to imaging. Contrast makes it easier for radiologists to interpret and pick up on small abnormalities, including tumors.

Contact Tom Hallberg at 732-7079 or

Tom Hallberg covers a little bit of everything, from skiing to long-form feature stories. A Teton Valley, Idaho, transplant by way of Portland and Bend, Oregon, he spends his time outside work writing fiction, splitboarding and climbing.

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