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Lawsuit Filing: Mammograms Improperly Read

November 19, 2012
Written by: , Filed in: Breast Imaging, Diagnostic Imaging, Practice Management
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St. Peter’s Hospital in Helena, Montana, responding to a lawsuit from a group of its former radiologists, said the radiologists read 3,000 mammograms on the wrong monitors in 2008.

It’s the latest round of sniping after a long business relationship between the two entities soured. The lawsuit response went so far as to declare, somewhat ungrammatically:

Radiology Specialists’ failure to provide adequate service to the Medical Staff, and patients of St. Peters [sic] lead [sic] to the end of the hospital’s relationship with Radiology Specialists.

For background on the dispute, see our August post detailing the radiologists’ initial filing of the lawsuit.

Montana Interventional and Diagnostic Radiology Specialists sued in August, saying the hospital was abusing what the lawsuit called monopoly power by denying the radiologists credentials to practice in the hospital.

St. Peter’s filed its response earlier this month. According to the Independent Record newspaper of Helena, the hospital said it had no monopoly power, as demonstrated by the fact that, according to the filing, the radiology group performs services at St. James Healthcare in Butte, the Veterans Affairs Medical Center and Ambulatory Care Clinic at Fort Harrison, and several other Montana clinics and hospitals.

Radiology Specialists also opened the Helena Imaging Center in August less than 100 yards from St. Peter’s.

In the lawsuit response, the hospital also accused the radiology group of reading about 3,000 mammograms on monitors other than the 5-megapixel models called for under the federal Mammogram Quality Standards Act. The readings took place from about April to September 2008, when the radiology group was under contract to provide radiology services to St. Peter’s.

In February 2009, St. Peter’s awarded the radiology contract to another group. After experiencing significant turnover among the radiologists in the new group, the hospital began directly hiring radiologists in 2011.

Timothy B. Strauch, a lawyer for the radiologists, said, in so many words, that the hospital is just being mean. More specifically, he said that the hospital was trying to damage the radiologists’ reputations and that rereading of the mammograms on the proper monitors has apparently revealed no problems with the initial interpretations.

We have no idea how the lawsuit will turn out, but we feel safe in predicting that these two entities won’t be sending each other Christmas cards. Or cooperating in any way for quite a while.

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