Compass Peak Imaging offers scanning services with significantly lower costs
Stand-alone operation in West Glenwood touts affordability and transparent pricing
GLENWOOD SPRINGS — A few weeks ago, Aileen Duke’s physician recommended she have a thyroid ultrasound, so the Gypsum resident pulled out her phone.
“My husband and I are both self-employed so we have a very high deductible,” Duke said. “We pay out of pocket, so we call around.”
But Duke found her simple goal of getting cost comparisons for ultrasound services became an involved search for information. When she contacted local hospitals, she was told she needed a code before she could obtain a quote. What’s more, she knew from previous experience — her husband required a CT scan a few years ago — that charges for the ultrasound procedure likely wouldn’t cover everything. Duke said she had to pay an additional $300 in her husband’s case — the charge associated with reading his CT scan.
Eventually, Valley View Hospital in Glenwood Springs told Duke her ultrasound would cost $3,000 in facility charges. Then she Googled “thyroid ultrasound” and a different option popped up — Compass Peak Imaging. Duke checked out the stand-alone imaging clinic’s website and she was in for a big surprise.
Right there on the clinic’s web page was a pricing guide. The document listed 20 different procedures offered at Compass, the price for said procedures if insurance is billed and a discounted price if a patient pays at the time of the service. Additionally, the guide stated, “Unlike hospital-based imaging services, you will not receive another bill for reading of the exam.”
“The people on the phone were lovely and they told me it would be $600 for the work,” Duke said.
That’s the kind of story the team at Compass Peak Imaging aims for every time a potential patient calls.
Compass Peak Imaging opened its West Glenwood location 11 months ago. The business is new to the area, but its operators are not.
Dr. Elizabeth Kulwiec is a board-certified diagnostic radiologist and a longtime resident of Glenwood Springs. She has more than 20 years of experience serving the local community. Likewise, Jeff Vichick, Compass Peak Imaging’s director, has been in the area since 2001, previously serving as the imaging director at Valley View Hospital.
“We thought we could provide a better service, with better pricing and transparency in our pricing,” Kulwiec said. “An MRI should not cost you $4,000.”
At Compass Peak it doesn’t. The pricing guide includes six MRI procedures — some with contrast and others targeting specific areas of the body — with prices that range from $900 to $1,800. In addition to MRI scans, Compass Peak Imaging offers CT, ultrasound and X-ray scanning.
“The prices listed on our website are for a worst-case scenario,” Vichick added. “Our price reflects as much as you are going to pay and in most cases, it will be less.”
Vichick said Compass Peak’s prices reflect the fact that the imaging center specializes in diagnostic scans. As a result, he noted that Compass Peak Imaging doesn’t have the high overhead costs that a full-service hospital faces.
“Making imaging cost more reasonably priced, that’s what we are all about,” Kulweic said.
Affordable, not cheap
While the operation touts its affordability, Kulweic and Vichick said that the lower prices at Compass Peak don’t reflect a quality compromise.
“We know what the standard of care is in this valley,” Vichick said. “We knew we couldn’t cut corners and we invested in the finest imaging equipment in the valley.”
Vichick said Compass Peak’s business model rests on three pillars: transparent/affordable pricing, quality imaging and strong customer service. That third item extends beyond Kulweic and Vichick’s resumes. Vichick said Compass Peak Imaging’s hours — 7:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. Monday through Friday and 8 a.m. to noon by appointment on Saturday — are designed to meet patient’s needs. “We can also be flexible with our hours,” he said.
Because it is a stand-alone operation, Compass Peak Imaging is also convenient for patients. There is parking right out front and the clinic is easy to spot, on the north side of Midland Avenue west of the Glenwood Meadows shopping area.
Compass Peak Imaging will celebrate its first anniversary on March 19. Statistics from the first year of operation show that the majority of patients — upward of 60 percent — come from the Glenwood Springs area.
“But we have pulled in patients from as far away as Delta,” Vichick said.
“The majority of imaging patients go where their doctor sends them,” Vichick continued. “But because of the costs of medical services, that is changing.”
Which means comparison-shopping patients such as Aileen Duke are becoming more common.
“I would highly recommend Compass. They are lovely people and obviously the price is a huge factor,” she said.
Duke added that her decision to use Compass doesn’t reflect any dissatisfaction with Valley View Hospital.
“I actually love Valley View,” Duke continued. “I have had nothing but positive interaction with them. But when you are paying out of pocket, you shop around.”
Duck said scheduling her ultrasound a Compass Peak Imagine was simple and the staff was kind and professional.
“There is no doubt in my mind that I will recommend them,” Duke said. “And best of all, thankfully, I found out my thyroid is fine.”
To learn more about Compass Peak Imaging, visit the business website at compasspeakimaging.com or call 970-665-2194.
While policymakers are celebrating a big drop in Colorado’s individual health insurance prices for 2020, they’re also scrambling to combat the sharp decline in the number of carriers in rural parts of the state where 22 of 64 counties have just one option on the Obamacare marketplace.