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Lawsuit: Mammography Fraud Finder Penalized

April 7, 2014
Written by: , Filed in: Breast Imaging, Medical Ethics, Practice Management
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A lawsuit filed in Los Angeles County Superior Court claims that a mammography supervisor was forced out of her job after she caught a technologist falsifying records.

Courthouse News Service reported that Rhonda Rowley sued The Permanente Medical Group, doing business as Kaiser Permanente, and her former supervisor, Rebecca Grant. The lawsuit makes accusations of wrongful termination, constructive termination (i.e., employer behavior so heinous that an employee has no choice but to resign), and disability discrimination.

The lawsuit says that Grant was director of diagnostic imaging and that Rowley, as assistant director, was responsible for the mammography program. In May 2010, the suit says, Rowley discovered that a mammography technologist had not done the number of exams required by California law and thus could not perform exams without a doctor present. Rowley says in the suit that she believed the technologist “had not performed or completed a single mammogram within a period of over two (2) years” but had falsified Kaiser’s computerized records to take credit for mammograms performed by others.

The suit says that when Rowley told Grant, “nothing was done to correct the compliance violation,” even though Rowley continued to bring up the issue for a year. According to the lawsuit, Grant instead responded by “looking over plaintiff’s performance with a microscope, trying to discover any minute issue with plaintiff’s performance.”

The lawsuit continues:

In fact, in or around January 4, 2011, defendant Grant called plaintiff and told her that she wanted plaintiff to leave the department, instructed plaintiff to ‘hurry up and find another job,’ and to ‘move on and find another job that does not involve technologists.’

In February 2012, according to the lawsuit, Kaiser put Rowley on administrative leave. As a result, the suit says, Rowley “was forced to check into an emergency department with chest pains, shortness of breath and anxiety” and took a two-week medical leave. Five days into the leave, the suit says, Grant told Rowley to submit an “action plan” for dealing with an issue that was beyond Rowley’s control. Rowley responded by giving a 30-day notice of resignation, the suit says. “However,” the lawsuit says, “defendant Kaiser effectuated her termination immediately.”

Rowley’s lawsuit seeks general, special, punitive, and exemplary damages.

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