The health authority is exploring the possibility of a mobile MRI service for smaller island communities.
Vancouver Island Health Authority, VIHA, has issued a request for proposals to determine the availability, quality and cost of a mobile MRI service.
Although issuing an RFP does not commit VIHA to a course of action it will likely be regarded as a big step in the right direction by any North Islanders who currently have to travel to receive that service.
VIHA is hoping to provide 2,500 MRI scans per year in communities that don’t currently have access to MRI technology.
“By providing publicly funded MRI scans with a mobile MRI service provider, VIHA would be able to offer timely service to patients closer to where they live,” said Dr. John Mathieson, VIHA head of medical imaging. “We would like to respond to the growing demand for MRI services by expanding this service to other communities.”
A publicly-funded mobile MRI service would be a first for VIHA, and would be very much dependent on the cost and quality of the service.
MRI is an expensive and highly specialized technology. VIHA has four MRI machines – three located in Victoria and one in Nanaimo. Patients requiring MRIs travel to these centres for their scans.
VIHA is seeking a five-year contract with a private provider for a mobile MRI service that would rotate between three or four sites, moving one or two times each month.
The private contractor would work with existing VIHA wait lists, and all mobile scans under the contract would be publicly funded, at no additional cost to the patient.
For more information see RFP #03-RFP-425 at www.bcbic.gov.bc.ca.