Ask the Doctors

Who is reading my mammogram? Do you have a fellowship trained, dedicated breast imager on staff?

The experience, training and skill of the physician interpreting the mammogram is as important, if not more important, than the technology used. Most missed cancers on mammography are the result of a failure on the part of the radiologist to either identify or correctly interpret the cancerous abnormality. Studies have shown that an experienced breast imager, who reads more than 5,000 films a year, will perform better at cancer detection than a general radiologist who reads far fewer mammograms and reads a variety of radiologic studies. In the screening setting, the biggest problem is the one that goes unnoticed. The adage that practice makes perfect applies to many things in life, including breast imagers.

Will I get my results the same day?

Women want to know the results of their mammogram before leaving the breast imaging facility. Furthermore, women want any problem detected on the screening mammogram worked up immediately. They do not want to have to be called back for additional evaluation and suffer the anxiety of the unknown for however long it takes to be seen again. At HerSpace, women receive results of their screening mammogram directly from the physician before leaving the facility and will have an opportunity to ask any questions they may have. Any abnormality detected on the study will be fully worked up the same day.

Will I be able to discuss my results with a doctor?

It is one thing to receive the results of a mammogram in the mail or even from a non-physician the day of the service. It is quite another thing to have the opportunity to review and discuss the findings on the mammogram directly with the Breast Imager interpreting the study. At HerSpace, all patients will meet with the radiologist after their study to discuss the study or other related health issues.

If I have a problem, how long do I have to wait to be seen?

One of the most stressful times for a woman is the period between knowing that there may be a problem in her breast detected on mammography or physical exam and the resolution of that problem — benign or cancerous. The most compassionate thing a physician can do is to shorten that time period by seeing a patient quickly. Unfortunately, because of poor insurance reimbursement for breast imaging services, resources are limited which often translates into long waiting times for patients. At HerSpace, we are committed to seeing patients with breast problems within 48 hours and same-day, when possible. In addition full work-ups and biopsies can be performed, when necessary, on the same day that the abnormality is detected on the screening mammogram.

Is the facility ACR accredited or in accreditation and does it offer state-of-the-art equipment like digital mammography?

The American College of Radiology accredits mammography facilities which meet standards of both technical and professional competency. It takes time for a new facility to work through the accreditation process. Accreditation indicates basic competency and does not necessarily guarantee that a facility invests in expensive cutting-edge technology like full-field digital mammography or offers experienced breast imagers. HerSpace opened with the latest technology available and offers digital mammography to all women who are eligible. HerSpace is accredited by the American College of Radiology and certified by the FDA for full-field digital mammography.

What experience does the radiologist have with the minimally invasive breast needle biopsies?

Imaging-guided needle biopsies, including stereotactic and ultrasound-guided mammotomy, are highly accurate alternatives to surgical biopsy of the breast for the diagnosis of abnormalities on the mammogram and ultrasound. The technology, which has evolved over 20 years, has saved thousands of women from surgery. As with mammographic interpretation, outcome is often dependent on the experience of the radiologist performing the procedure.

What are the insurance/payment policies at HerSpace? What does fee-for-service mean?

HerSpace participates with Medicare and will process all insurance claims directly for Medicare patients.

For all other patients with private insurance, the Practice is fee-for-service. This means that you will be asked to pay for your breast imaging study(ies) at the time of your visit. The staff will provide you with all necessary paperwork for you to submit to your insurance carrier for direct reimbursement. Our doctors are considered out-of-network providers, and your reimbursement will depend on your out-of-network benefits and any out-of-network screening mammography spending account your insurance carrier provides. The best way for a patient to know what reimbursement to expect is to contact her insurance carrier directly.

Feel free to call us at 732-571-9100 with any questions you may have.

Will I have to wear a flimsy hospital gown and wait for my results in a crowded room, listening to other women’s mammography horror stories?

Not at HerSpace, which was designed with patient comfort and privacy in mind. The surroundings are serene and spacious, with features like a waterfall, soothing new-age and classical music, curved alcoved walls to give a feeling of privacy and personal space and a courtyard setting with views of beautiful tree tops and courtyard garden. A separate video room allows patients to watch educational videos or cable television without disturbing others who don’t care to. Patients wait in ample spa-like waffle weave full length robes, again to ensure privacy and comfort.

Will I struggle to find parking?

There are many parking spaces surrounding the facility many of which are covered from rain or snow including several reserved handicapped space. Parking is not an issue at HerSpace.

Do I need to retrieve my old films and records?

If prior films from another facility exist, it is well worth your effort to bring them with you on the day of your appointment at HerSpace. Breast Imagers look for subtle changes in the tissue patterns in the breast which could signify an early developing cancer. These findings often cannot be appreciated without the benefit of film comparison.

Call the outside radiology facility where you had your prior study and request that the films be made available on a disc for you to sign out in person or for mailing directly to HerSpace. The facility will likely require a signed release form. Leave at least a week’s time before your mammography appointment to obtain the prior studies.

Your prior studies will then be safely stored at HerSpace, so that this film retrieval is a one-time effort on your part.

What if I need to cancel my appointment?

HerSpace Breast Imaging and Biopsy Associates strives to deliver the highest level of imaging services in the most respectful and compassionate way possible. However, it is difficult to provide access to care when appointment slots go unfilled because patients cancel at the last moment or simply do not show up. We are asking all patients to be mindful of our requirement to provide at least 24 hours notice whenever an appointment cannot be kept. After hours, a message can be left on our answering machine by calling our regular office telephone number. An appointment is considered “missed” if 24 hours notification is not given.

In order to maximize scheduling efficiency and patient access to care, we are forced to implement the following policy:

For a missed appointment, a credit card number will be required before another appointment will be scheduled. If that appointment is missed or cancelled with less than 24 hours notice, $150 will be charged for each service that was scheduled, i.e. mammogram, ultrasound, bone density study.