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Frequently Asked Questions - The Center for Women's Imaging at Mercy

Women's Imaging FAQs
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What should I bring to my appointment?

  • Insurance information
  • Previous mammograms/ultrasound exams and reports from outside facilities if this is your first visit to our Center
  • Prescription or referral from your physician/clinician
  • Medical history

Why do I need a doctor's order?

For any diagnostic imaging study (diagnostic mammography, ultrasound or MRI exam) or interventional procedure (image-guided biopsy) a physician referral is required because by law the radiologist is not permitted to “self-refer” patients for these examinations. The radiologist is a physician consultant to the patient and the referring physician/clinician.

A written referral is a means for your doctor to communicate to the radiologist what the specific issues should be addressed by the imaging study. It also assures to us that there is a physician coordinating the patient’s care who will be responsible for guiding the patient through treatment if a diagnosis of breast cancer is made. Many insurance plans also may require a physician referral and/or pre-authorization for these studies.

While screening mammography does not by law require a physician referral, we do not routinely offer self-referred screening mammography exams at our facility. This decision has been made in order to guarantee that we have a physician to receive the patient’s mammogram report and act on the findings if intervention/treatment is required.

What is the difference between a physician's order and a referral for a mammogram?

Some insurance companies require a referral for reimbursement but all mammograms require a written order from your doctor.

How do I get to The Center for Women’s Imaging at Mercy and where should I park?

The Center for Women’s Imaging at Mercy is located on Mercy’s Downtown Baltimore campus on the 5th floor of The Weinberg Center at Mercy.  We recommend that patients park in The Weinberg Garage.

Does The Center for Women's Imaging at Mercy accept my insurance?

Please call your insurance provider to confirm that The Center for Women's Imaging at Mercy participates with your plan.

Can I have a mammogram without insurance?

Yes, but you must bring an initial deposit and the Center will set up a payment plan for you.

Why is it important to bring my previous mammogram pictures to my appointment?

The radiologist reading your mammogram is looking for tiny abnormalities in your breasts that are unique to you. It is extremely helpful to be able to compare films for changes in your breasts over time. Without the previous films, you may be asked to come back for additional views, causing undue stress and delays in providing treatment.

Why do I need to update my health history every year?

It is important for the radiologist to be aware of any changes and additions to your health history since your last mammogram. These changes can sometimes affect your diagnosis.

What is the difference between a screening mammogram and a diagnostic mammogram?

A screening mammogram is scheduled for screening/preventive purposes. These patients do not have any current breast problems or recommendations for a follow-up. Screening patients do not have their films read the same day but the technologist looks at the mammogram to make sure they have quality images for the radiologist to read. Patients typically receive the results of their screening mammogram within 2 weeks.

A diagnostic mammogram is scheduled to promptly address a new breast problem in a patient or to follow-up with the patient as recommended by their doctor or the radiologist. The diagnostic patient will have their films reviewed by the radiologist the same day and any additional imaging, including ultrasound, will be done at the time of their appointment. The diagnostic appointment can take up to 2-3 hours and the patient will get their results from the radiologist before they leave the department.

Can I coordinate my mammogram appointment with other appointments in The Weinberg Center for Women's Health & Medicine?

Yes, the staff of The Weinberg Center for Women's Health & Medicine works very hard to coordinate appointments for you. Please call as soon as possible so we can accommodate your needs.

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