NMR of America expects rapid growth of centers

May 8, 1991

NMR of America plans to open three or four new imaging centerseach year over the next three years. Combined with the acquisitionof one or two existing independent centers annually, the imagingservices company anticipates expanding its chain from 11 to

NMR of America plans to open three or four new imaging centerseach year over the next three years. Combined with the acquisitionof one or two existing independent centers annually, the imagingservices company anticipates expanding its chain from 11 to 30centers during this period, said Joseph G. Dasti, president andCEO.

Although NMR of America expressed a willingness to sell ormerge the business following a board shakeup last year, companymanagement now feels the best way to maximize shareholder valueis to expand the company, he said.

"We are in a very positive mode and excited about thefuture of the company. Our cash is in excess of $3 million andincreasing at a fast pace," Dasti told SCAN.

More cash should be available to fund growth after the firmcompletes payment on a large portion of its existing imaging equipmentfinancing this summer. That should save NMR of America about $300,000a month in interest and depreciation expenses, he said.

Fiscal 1990 (end-March) should prove to be a record year forprofitability when financial results are released, Dasti said.The fourth quarter of 1990 was NMR of America's twelfth consecutiveprofitable quarter, he said.

The firm closed one unprofitable center during the last quarter(SCAN 2/13/91), and now receives a positive cash flow from allsites, Dasti said.

A LIMITED PARTNERSHIP to support development of a multimodalityimaging center in Bel Air, MD, was finalized last week. Constructionof the center will begin immediately. The firm also began to forma limited partnership to support its second imaging center inthe Chicago area. The first Chicago NMR of America center is underdevelopment. Both Chicago sites and the Bel Air center shouldopen by the end of this calendar year, Dasti said.

NMR of America uses referring physician partners to supportits centers, although these doctor-owners usually contribute onlyabout 20% of referrals to a center once it is fully operational.The firm has no plans to change its successful formula for centerstart-ups under the threat of government restrictions on referring-physicianownership of medical center.

"If legislation changes (to restrict physician investors),we will address it at that time. There has been a lot of talkover the past three years (about such restrictions), but thereis still nothing definite. Until we get something in black andwhite that we can analyze, we are going to operate the way weknow best," Dasti said.

The future of MR imaging remains bright as new applications,such as MR angiography and GI contrast imaging, promise to expandutilization. Although competition in MRI services remains tough,the proliferation of MR scanners has helped educate the clinicalcommunity about the modality's clinical usefulness, he said.

"Our number of scans is improving even with competition,"Dasti said.

A threat of reduced Medicare reimbursement for MRI proceduresshould also be countered by innovations in fast scanning technologythat boost the throughput capacity of MRI systems, he said.