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Regulators Close ‘Preventive Imaging’ Clinic

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The Denver office of Heart Check America, a national “preventive imaging” company, closed last week after state regulators ordered it to stop performing scans without doctors’ referrals and properly licensed supervising physicians.

The company advertised directly to the public, offering its services without a referral. According to the Denver Post, the X-ray Certification Unit of the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment said Heart Check America did not have a Colorado-licensed physician supervising its scans, as required by the state. A health department official said on Monday that the supervising physician listed in the company’s paperwork was not licensed to practice medicine in Colorado.

The health department ordered the company on April 14 to scan only those patients referred by doctors—about 5 percent of its clientele. Then, on April 25, the department ordered the company to stop scanning entirely. When health department officials visited Heart Check America on May 5, the offices were empty.

In a May 6 letter to the Colorado Medical Board, Brian Vamvakias, leader of the X-ray Certification Unit, said his team was concerned that the scan results were not being read by a radiologist “in a timely fashion.” The letter continued:

We are also concerned that the machine used to scan the patients does not produce images of diagnostic quality sufficient for the intended diagnosis. Finally, we do not feel a whole body scan is an appropriate screening tool for an asymptomatic patient. Our concern is based on the premise that exposure to radiation from medical procedures must have some benefit for the patient.

According to the company’s Web site, the company uses “the highly validated Electron Beam Computed Tomography Scanner to detect and measure heart disease, lung cancer, colon cancer, and other cancers throughout the abdomen and pelvis.”

The Web site still lists the Denver location, as well as locations in Irvine, Los Angeles, and San Diego, California; Arlington Heights and Tinley Park, Illinois; Washington, DC; and Las Vegas. The site says each Heart Check America location offers the following: heart scan, $395; lung scan, $395; body scan (heart, lung, and abdomen/pelvis), $995; “QCT bone density,” $249; and virtual colonoscopy, $1,190.

A bit of Googling turns up many sites full of complaints from consumers that the company delivered promised services late or not at all and used high-pressure tactics to get consumers to sign up for 10-year scan plans. Many employees also have complained that the company paid them late, didn’t pay all that it owed, or didn’t pay them at all.

Reuters reported that the company is also being investigated by Nevada authorities. Reuters said that David W. Haddad, an owner of the company, was accused in a 2007 lawsuit by the Indiana attorney general’s office of fraudulently selling time-share condominiums. It quoted Molly Butters, spokeswoman for the attorney general’s office, as saying that Haddad was ordered to pay $25,000 in restitution.

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2 Responses to “Regulators Close ‘Preventive Imaging’ Clinic”

  1. Radiology Daily»AlertArchive » Scan-Shop Chain Faces More Legal Trouble on June 29th, 2011 at 10:02 am

    […] is based in Tinley Park, Illinois, a Chicago suburb. Its Illinois locations have closed. Regulators shut down a Denver office in May. The company’s sister organization in Hilton Head, South Carolina, Cancer Check of […]

  2. Radiology Daily»AlertArchive » Lawsuit, Huge Fine Hit Whole-Body-Scan Chain on August 12th, 2011 at 10:01 am

    […] covered the chain’s regulatory and legal problems earlier, in May and June—as well as the dubious utility of full-body scans for patients without symptoms of […]