March 01, 2016

Private-Pay MRI Services Begin in Saskatchewan

Patients now have the option to choose to directly pay a private facility for a Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) scan in Saskatchewan.  Facilities that conduct a private MRI scan must also provide a second scan at no charge to an individual who is on the public waiting list.

The MRI Facilities Licensing Act, the corresponding MRI Facilities Licensing Regulations and The Medical Care Insurance Beneficiary and Administration Regulations were brought into force on February 29, 2016.

“Our government is committed to providing patients with more choice over their care decisions,” Health Minister Dustin Duncan said.  “Saskatchewan people who choose to pay for an MRI can now access that service right here in their own province, while also providing additional capacity within the public system.”

The process for anyone wishing to pay for an MRI, and for the second scan to occur for a patient on the public wait list, is straightforward.

A physician referral is still required to obtain an MRI, to ensure all MRIs conducted in Saskatchewan are medically necessary.  Once a referral from an appropriate physician is obtained, a person wishing to pay for an MRI takes that referral directly to a licensed private facility to book an appointment.

After completing a private MRI scan, the private facility will provide a second scan of similar complexity within 14 days to a patient on the public wait list, at no charge to that second patient.

“The addition of private-pay MRI services in our province will complement publicly-funded scans and provide an opportunity to expand capacity to address demand,” Duncan said.

Government is also continuing to invest in public MRI capacity in Saskatchewan.  Since 2007-08, capacity for public MRI services has increased by about 115 per cent.  With the recent addition of the new MRI at the Dr. F.H. Wigmore Hospital in Moose Jaw, there are now 10 publicly-funded MRI scanners accessible to residents of Saskatchewan.

More information is available in the attached fact sheet, and a list of facilities licensed to provide private-pay MRI service to the public is available by searching “MRI” at