RI Medical Imaging relocating to Warwick, celebrates 75th anniversary

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Rhode Island Medical Imaging (RIMI) is celebrating their 75th anniversary this year, a milestone that coincides with the planned relocation of their administrative offices from East Providence to Warwick this coming summer.

“We are moving our corporate headquarters from East Providence to metro center in Warwick, near the airport,” said Dr. John Pezzullo, the president of Rhode Island Medical Imaging and a Rhode Island native. Pezzullo grew up in Johnston, graduated from Bishop Hendricken High School and has worked with RIMI as a radiologist for the past 18 years.

“We’re trying to form a collaborative relationship with Warwick,” said Pezzullo. “And as we expand Warwick may become a hub of medicine and radiology. We’re the first medical group moving into that site.”

The proposed change would move over 200 administrative jobs into Warwick, specifically into 125 Metro Center Boulevard, an empty office space that was the former headquarters of the tech company Atrion, before they were bought out by Carousel Industries. The building is brand new and provides the location, space, and IT capabilities that RIMI needs in a new administrative center. The close proximity to I-95 and T.F. Green Airport were also mentioned as positive factors encouraging the move to Warwick.

There’s even the possibility that RIMI will read some diagnostic imaging studies from all their practices at this new Warwick hub.

The reason for the move is rooted in RIMI’s rapid expansion over the past couple years.

Founded in 1943 by James Boyd and Thomas Foresight in Providence, the growth of RIMI coincided with the growth overall of diagnostic imaging in medicine. Diagnostic imaging refers to the bevy of different images, scans and tests that doctors use to make medical decisions for their patients.

When the company started, only x-rays were in use. Now there are dozens of different scans used in medicine, from mammographies to help diagnose breast cancer, to MRIs that can identify torn ligaments in athletes.

In the late 80s RIMI had five offices and served as the official department of diagnostic imaging for a number of local hospitals. Since then business has boomed. RIMI now has 13 office locations around the state of Rhode Island and southern Massachusetts. What started as a handful of radiologists has now become 80, and RIMI now provides in-hospital diagnostic services for six different area hospitals: Women and Infants, Rhode Island Hospital, Miriam Hospital, Sturdy Memorial Hospital, Fatima and Roger Williams.

“We’ve really undergone rapid expansion in the past four years,” said Pezzullo. “There is a greater need and demand for diagnostic services in nearly every type and family of medicine.”

The business model that RIMI uses is an independent, private model. Rather than the hospital employ radiologists to conduct and read medical images, the hospitals pay RIMI for the service of having RIMI radiologists work in their hospital. This independent way of doing business helps RIMI attract high quality physicians to the state and makes medical imaging cheaper insurers.

“We have maintained our independence because we feel we are better able to provide services to the hospitals,” said Pezzullo.

Aside from medical imaging services, RIMI is also well known for their stroke program, which Pezzullo says is “one of the best in the entire world” and a close relationship with the medical school at Brown University, the Warren Alpert Medical School. A large portion of the radiologists at RIMI work at the medical school as teachers and faculty.

The move to Warwick, if all goes well, should be completed sometime in August. As for RIMI’s relationship with acting Mayor Joe Solomon, Pezzullo said, “I think it’s going to be a great relationship.”

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