Doctor prohibited from offering low-cost MRIs sues state

Christian Britschgi  ·  Aug 27, 2018

Would you rather pay $2,000 or $500?

Should a licensed doctor have to ask the government and industry competitors for permission before purchasing potentially life-saving medical equipment? That’s the question at issue in a new lawsuit challenging North Carolina’s “certificate of need” laws.

In 2017, Dr. Gajendra Singh opened a medical imaging center in the town of Winston-Salem with the goal of providing MRIs, ultrasounds, and other screenings to patients at prices that were both lower and more transparent than what they were paying at the existing local hospital.

Singh was able to either purchase or lease the X-ray scanner, CT scanner, and ultrasound machines he needed without incident. But when it came to getting an MRI machine, he hit a wall.

The state of North Carolina requires medical service providers like Singh to go through an arduous application process to prove that they need an MRI machine before they are allowed to buy or lease one. Need, mind you, is determined not by how many patients are asking for services, but rather by how many MRIs the state’s Department of Health thinks an area requires.

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