Cancellation Policies for Scan Time at MRI Scanners

Lucas Center Booking Policies

August 15, 2018


As a Federal- and University-regulated Service Center, we can neither make nor lose money in each fiscal year, so we attempt to govern as effectively as possible to minimize cost and maximize convenience for our users. By instituting new policies recently, we have markedly reduced the scan time overbooking, resulting in more available scan time. We will aperiodically review our operations and instigate policy changes as needed. In this update, we clarify that short term cancelation fees are not applied.

1. Booking policy
Users should only book scanner time when a confirmed subject or scan need is in hand, and the box must be checked to turn the slot RED. However, a slot may be temporarily booked for one day in advance without confirmed subject; such slots will appear BLUE on the schedule. We will automatically cancel without fee all BLUE time slots if they we are not turned to RED within 1 day of booking. Blue time allows a 1-day courtesy hold to confirm resources/participants/collaborators etc.

Sometimes a confirmed scan time is booked erroneously and needs to be changed within the same day. These changes will not incur a cancellation fee if rebooked immediately.

2. Cancellation policy
The cancellation deadline is 2 weeks before scheduled scan time. If you do not have a confirmed need for a slot you must cancel at least 2 weeks in advance to avoid a late cancellation fee. A late cancellation fee of 10% will be charged for cancellations that occur less than 2 week(s) before the scan. You will not be charged a cancellation fee if the cancelled time has been replaced by a funded study.

There are circumstances outside of the PI’s control which cause late cancellations (subject no-show, illness, traffic, claustrophobia, etc.). In the past, the entire user base shared the cost of these late cancellations. However, no justification for waiving the 10% late cancellation fee will be permitted. This will result in some late cancellation charges for which the PI had no control, however, failed experiments are a cost of doing all research, and the rate may vary across subject populations, etc. We will not attempt to judge which circumstance is justifiable and which is not, because that is a slippery slope.

Unfortunately, there are occasional Lucas center hardware or software malfunctions which cause a user’s scan slot to fail, and of course, we will not charge a cancellation. In such events, the Lucas facility manager should promptly be notified of the malfunction if not already aware. Please note this does not include the malfunction or unavailability of any user-supplied hardware, software or materials. Such circumstances are the user’s responsibility.

Principal Investigators should note that allowing for cancellation fees may need to be negotiated with funding agencies (e.g. NIH), and if denied the study PI will be required to provide a valid PTA for this purpose in order for the scan account to be active.

3. Training or Protocol Development
The Lucas staff and users have found protocol development time to be an important part of the training and quality of the work at our Center We will provide unfunded time that can be booked no more than 48 hours in advance for regular day time (8am-6pm) hours, and no more than 5 days in advance for off-peak hours. We view these unfunded sessions as more flexible than funded studies, and thus we ask users to be more flexible in picking up unused slots. Protocol Development time should generally be limited to 2-4 hours (maximum of 5 hours) for each new grant/Funded study. We do not wish to discourage users from continuing to have good training and an excellent safety record. If there is a good reason to schedule protocol development time with a slightly longer lead time, or for more than the maximum of 5 hours, you may request permission from Lucas staff.

4. Advance booking window
Advanced booking on the Lucas scheduler will be limited to ≤ 8 weeks. If you need to schedule time greater than 8 weeks in advance, please email Lucas staff with these dates together with an explanation of the confirmed need for each entry (e.g. Joe Smith is already scheduled in a longitudinal study 6 months after previous scan).

5. Special circumstances
There are always special circumstances! We want to accommodate your (reasonable) needs; please notify staff of your requests.