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Radiologists Sue To Gain Hospital Privileges

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A group of radiologists in Helena, Montana, is suing a hospital over the hospital’s refusal to grant privileges to practice there.

The radiologists, Montana Interventional and Diagnostic Radiology Specialists, and the hospital, St. Peter’s, have a long and complicated history, as detailed by the Independent Record newspaper of Helena. Members of the group had worked at St. Peter’s from at least the 1990s until 2009, when the hospital gave other radiologists an exclusive contract. According to the lawsuit:

The physicians of Radiology Specialists were the only fellowship-trained and sub–specialty-trained radiologists in the Helena area. So the vast majority of patients in Helena had no access to radiologists having these credentials.

In July 2011, Radiology Specialists again asked St. Peter’s for staff privileges. The hospital refused, saying the radiology department was closed to nonemployees, according to the suit.

Radiology Specialists also said in the lawsuit that it had been denied access to radiology records at St. Peter’s, preventing it from comparing old and new images and forcing patients to use the St. Peter’s staff radiologists for such comparisons.

The lawsuit accuses St. Peter’s of, among other things, unfair restraint of trade and violation of laws that base hospital privileges on economic relationships. It asks for restoration of the doctors’ staff privileges and payment for damages.

Meanwhile, last week Radiology Specialists opened the new Helena Imaging Center about 75 yards from St. Peter’s. The center provides mammograms, CT scans, and other imaging services. Its launch would seem to undercut another of the lawsuit’s contentions:

St. Peter’s iron grip on the radiology services market in Helena prevents the most skilled practitioners from providing services here. St. Peter’s actively constructs barriers impeding the provision of quality health care services to the Helena community.

St. Peter’s said it does not comment on pending litigation. In May, the hospital received a three-year renewal of accreditation from the American College of Radiology.

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One Response to “Radiologists Sue To Gain Hospital Privileges”

  1. Radiology Daily»AlertArchive » Lawsuit Filing: Mammograms Improperly Read on November 19th, 2012 at 10:01 am

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