MRI machine

Workers move an MRI scanner with a forklift at Precision Medical Imaging in Logan on Tuesday.

A new MRI imaging clinic is coming to Logan.

On Tuesday, Precision Medical Imaging had their magnetic resonance imaging scanner delivered to their developing offices at 630 East 1400 North. This is the newest of three MRI machines in Cache Valley — two of which are at Intermountain Healthcare and the other is at Cache Valley Hospital in North Logan.

Dr. Brian Vernon and his wife, Dr. Yohanna Vernon, are opening the clinic with four local investors. Brian, an orthopedic spinal surgeon, and Yohanna, a pediatrician, will both operate private practices out of the new clinic.

MRI Technologist Ken Lemon said the 12,000-pound MRI machine is around 6 years old and cost nearly $1 million. He said it has a 1.5 tesla magnet — a magnet 50% stronger than the typical magnet used to pick up motor vehicles at a scrap yard. Lemon said the MRI should be functional in three to five weeks.

While working at Intermountain, Brian said a patient — who wound up being an investor — turned him on to the idea of starting Precision Medical Imaging. He began noticing several patients were traveling to South Ogden to get their imaging completed due to vastly cheaper costs. Lemon — who worked for Intermountain for 21 years — said getting imaging in Cache Valley can cost between $1,900 and $2,600, leading hundreds of Cache Valley patients to spend their money elsewhere.

Lemon said imaging at PMI will cost around $600.

“We’re giving people a great scan at a reasonable price,” Lemon said.

But according to Brian, what also separates PMI from the competition is their service-oriented, “medical spa” atmosphere. With massage chairs and plush robes, Brian said PMI’s “concierge” service is partially based on the airline industry.

“We just want to make it super pampered,” Brian said. “My imaging attendant is kind of like a flight attendant.”

Brian said he originally planned to run the imaging clinic while working at Intermountain. He said he approached Intermountain leadership about his new business after putting down a $200,000 down payment on the MRI, thinking they would be comfortable with his new venture. However, a clause in his employment contract hampered his ability to do both — he said he was forced to sell his share of the business or give up his job at Intermountain.

“I liked it there,” Brian said, but he ultimately decided to continue with PMI.

Brian said he has privileges to perform surgeries at Logan Regional Medical Center and Cache Valley Hospital.

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