PLATTSBURGH — Privately-operated diagnostic imaging center After Hours Imaging (AHI) has embodied the "new year, new me" mindset.
In the early days of 2021, it moved, changed its name and added new, state-of-the-art equipment.
"Our services have just expanded so much and our volume has increased," Practice Manager Michelle Roes said. "We outgrew the space that we were renting."
Plattsburgh-native James "Jim" Morgan Jr. first opened a diagnostic testing center in Rochester. He brought the business home after several local physicians contacted him, saying the area was in need of private radiology.
"Hospital prices are through the ceiling and a lot of patients can't afford it," he told the Press-Republican, adding that patients from out of town, state and country now take advantage of his Plattsburgh-based center.
"The savings are sometimes 10 times."
The business' main location is in Plattsburgh, but it has a Rochester office, a satellite location in Malone and select services available in South Burlington, Vt.
Now Plattsburgh Advanced Imaging (PAI), the center moved from its prior location on Route 3 to a 10,000-square-foot space at 24 Hammond Lane in the Town of Plattsburgh, formerly the Cabinet Gallery.
Morgan purchased the new building in early 2020 and began renovations soon after.
"We completely stripped the interior and redesigned the space from the ground up to accommodate the needs of our imaging center," Roes said, adding that they moved in Jan. 4, 2021.
NO LONGER 'AFTER HOURS'
With the move came the name change.
"When Jim first started the business by himself, he worked at a hospital," Roes said. "He started by providing his own imaging services after he worked a shift at the hospital — hence the name 'After Hours Imaging.'"
While it had stuck long after the center began offering services during the day, Roes said the business name had started to puzzle some patients.
"We often referred to ourselves as AHI, the acronym," she explained. "They were confused what it meant; they weren't connecting it to medical diagnostic testing."
The practice manager felt the rebranded name would give prospective clients a better idea of who they were and what services they provided.
ON-SITE, MOBILE SERVICES
The Plattsburgh location offers a range of imaging services, including X-rays, CT (computerized tomography) scans, bone density scans, ultrasounds and echocardiograms.
Via a LabCorp partnership, onsite lab draw services were also available.
Roes highlighted PAI's new, state-of-the-art 64-slice CT unit. She said it made for shorter scan times and featured an interactive display to keep patients occupied during the exam.
"It also offers dose reduction technology to ensure patients are receiving as little radiation as possible," she said, noting that the machine could perform cardiac calcium scoring, as well, to detect cardiac risk in patients.
PAI can take some imaging services on the road, including X-rays, ultrasounds and echocardiograms.
"We were providing it to nursing homes in the area," Roes said of the mobilized services. "Due to COVID, we expanded it to include home visits to elderly patients or patients who were medically unable to leave their homes."
In an effort to be up front about service costs, pricing lists can be found on the PAI website.
As a private company, Roes said it had less overhead than corporations or hospitals, allowing for lower prices and reimbursements.
"While we provide the same quality, if not greater quality, equipment, and we provide a faster service, our pricing is also much lower," she said.
"It's much more affordable for those patients with high-deductible plans or self-pay; it's a cost-savings to them."
Services required a doctor's order or acquisition. Some needed appointments, while others, like X-ray, bone density scans and lab work, could accommodate walk-ins.
While they could make recommendations, Roes said medical providers could not tell a patient where they had to go for such exams, saying it was illegal to do so.
"Patients have a say in where they receive their services and spend their money," she said. "That's really important to know.
"When you're making a decision on where to have your imaging services provided — cost does matter."
PAI staff have enhanced cleaning protocols due to concerns of the novel coronavirus and says its new office has a top notch air filtration system.
"Every six minutes it filters fresh air from outside into the building to replace the air inside," Roes said. "So patients and employees aren't breathing in the same recycled air."
The practice manager said the center prided itself on providing its patients the best care.
"It's our mission to treat every patient that walks through the door like family, because they are someone's family," she said. "They are not just another patient or another number.
"Their healthcare matters and we want them to feel like it matters."
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