Rayus Radiology launches whole-body MRI service in Seattle, SimonMed expands, RadNet touts legislation, plus more company news

Rayus Radiology recently launched a whole-body MRI service at two Seattle locations in partnership with AI startup Ezra.

The Minneapolis-based imaging group will offer scans to asymptomatic Washingtonians in the communities of Bellevue and Issaquah. Rayus will utilize artificial intelligence technology from Ezra, helping it to search for cancer and over 500 conditions across up to 13 organs.

Supported by New York private equity firm Wellspring Capital Management, Rayus announced in April that it was partnering with Ezra to launch a nationwide whole-body MRI service. This marks the start of that collaboration, with more locations to follow in the coming months.

“Expanding our partnership to Seattle allows us to continue our commitment to technological advancements,” Rayus CEO Kim Tzoumakas said in a June 27 announcement. “We have had tremendous demand from patients with the desire to obtain a whole-body MRI scan at our facilities, and we are excited to offer this service at additional locations to serve that demand.”

Ezra, which is headquartered in New York, said it has found early cancer in about 6% of customer scans. The company now boasts about 30 locations across six states. Prior to the launch in Seattle, Ezra said its whole body-MRI waitlist had climbed to 300 individuals “showcasing the consumer demand for greater access to disease monitoring like this.”

“Seattle has long been one of our most in-demand markets, so opening our doors in this vibrant community is an important moment in our journey,” Emi Gal, founder and CEO of Ezra, said in the announcement.

In February, Ezra announced it had raised $21 million in funding with plans to add 50 locations across 20 cities in North America. Its primary MRI exam lasts about 60 minute and costs $1,950 out of pocket with the option to pay an extra $550 ($2,500 total) for a low-dose CT scan.

Rayus operates 150-plus freestanding imaging centers and formerly called itself the Center for Diagnostic Imaging.

SimonMed Imaging expands

SimonMed Imaging recently opened multiple new locations, the Scottsdale, Arizona-based radiology practice announced Monday.

Three of the latest outposts are in the states of Texas and California, according to a July 1 social media post. SimonMed is opening a new location in Watsonville, Calif., just south of Santa Cruz, offering MRI services. Two more just launched in the Texas communities of Watsonville (northeast of Houston, offering MRI, CT, ultrasound and X-ray) and another in Tomball (northwest of the same city, providing MRI, CT, ultrasound, X-ray, mammography and DEXA).

This comes after SimonMed in June announced the opening of an imaging center in the Miramar neighborhood of San Diego, providing 1.5T MRI services with CT and X-ray soon to follow. In a busy 2024 so far, the practice started rolling out six more centers across California earlier this year.

“Bringing additional sites of service throughout the state provides an opportunity for patients to have a choice of outpatient imaging over higher cost hospital-affiliated imaging,” Founder and CEO John Simon, MD, said at the time. “This growth furthers our overarching mission of making the most advanced technology more widely accessible.”

SimonMed also recently announced a research collaboration with Oxford Brain Diagnostics to explore using its patented Cortical Disarray Measurement to better diagnose neurodegenerative diseases. The research will explore CDM in patients with mild cognitive impairment to assess for possible Alzheimer’s and other dementias.

Altogether, the radiology practice now operates 170 sites and counting across 11 states and employs over 200 physicians. SimonMed inked a partnership with New York private equity firm American Securities in 2021, with PE Hub estimating the sponsorship’s value at $600 million. The company has added over 30 new locations since then.

RadNet celebrates legislation in Maryland

RadNet Inc. recently celebrated the passage of three bills aimed at improving cancer screening.

The trio of bills relate to issues of healthcare affordability, quality and education. House Bill 1259 expands breast and lung cancer screening coverage, while HB 0934 specifies that certain X-ray exams of the chest, spine and extremities can only be performed at physician offices under doc or tech supervision.

Finally, HB 1293 requires the state department of health to develop and implement a three-year educational campaign related to prostate, lung and breast cancer prevention.

“Maryland continues to lead the nation in taking steps to eliminate the barriers to affordable and accessible breast and lung cancer imaging,” Steve Forthuber, president of eastern operations for RadNet, said in a statement. “As community-based providers on the front line of cancer care, our mission is to ensure that everyone in Maryland has equitable and affordable access to state-of-the-art imaging that will detect and diagnose cancer at its earliest stage. We want to thank Governor [Wes] Moore and members of the general assembly, particularly Delegate Tiffany Alston, for helping ensure no Marylander is left behind in the fight against cancer.”

RadNet is headquartered in Los Angeles and owns or operates 375 outpatient imaging centers across eight states.

Rapid fire

A few more company-related items, in brief:

  • Multispecialty radiology provider Envision Healthcare has named Dominic Andreano as its new general counsel and also recently released its 2023 Clinical Impact Report. The physician group delivered about 6 million radiology reads last year, with 93% of cases in the ED turned around within 30 minutes.
  • Private equity-backed LucidHealth, which employs over 300 radiologists, recently signed a partnership with vendor Rad AI.
  • RBMA announced the winners of its third annual RAD Honors Awards, recognizing radiology groups Southwest Medical Imaging Ltd. and Lake Medical Imaging, vendors Rad AI and the Intersocietal Accreditation Commission, and individuals Woojin Kim, MD, (with Rad AI), Raquel Roman and Dianne Keen (AbbaDox).
  • Outpatient Imaging Affiliates is teaming with vendor Loop Media Inc., the two announced June 27. The latter will provide streaming content and digital signage for OIA’s imaging center waiting rooms.
  • Consulting Radiologists Ltd. recently experienced a data breach that may have impacted upward of more than 500,000 individuals.
  • Two publicly traded, regional radiology chains have agreed to merge Down Under in a deal valued at $857 million (Australian). Capitol Health owns about 65 community-based imaging practices primarily under the brand Capital Radiology while Integral Diagnostics has 90 clinics under names including Lake Imaging, the X-ray Group, Imaging Queensland and Apex Radiology.
  • Life Imaging recently opened its third location, offering low-dose CT scans to help patients detect conditions of the heart before symptoms arise.
  • Rayus Radiology held a ribbon cutting ceremony to celebrate the opening of a location in Carmel, Indiana.
  • And finally, UnitedHealth Group’s Optum unit has backed out of its deal to buy multispecialty radiology provider Steward Medical Group.
Marty Stempniak

Marty Stempniak has covered healthcare since 2012, with his byline appearing in the American Hospital Association's member magazine, Modern Healthcare and McKnight's. Prior to that, he wrote about village government and local business for his hometown newspaper in Oak Park, Illinois. He won a Peter Lisagor and Gold EXCEL awards in 2017 for his coverage of the opioid epidemic. 

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