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Radiologists’ Lawsuit Blames Cardiologists

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Two radiologists have sued Bozeman Deaconess Hospital in Bozeman, Montana, claiming the hospital forced them out of a joint radiology venture. The problems started, according to the lawsuit, because cardiologists at the hospital didn’t want to work outside normal office hours.

Frank Rembert, MD, and Michael Paradise, MD, along with Bozeman Radiology, a practice they founded, filed the lawsuit late last month, seeking damages for breach of contract and unfair trade practices. Dr. Rembert still works with Bozeman Radiology. Dr. Paradise now works for the Cleveland Clinic in Cleveland.

The lawsuit says the two doctors and Deaconess formed a joint venture called Intercity Radiology, which had an exclusive agreement to provide radiology services at Deaconess. Starting in 2007, it says, Dr. Rembert, who has fellowship training in cardiovascular radiology, was involved in helping to design a new vascular lab.

The cardiologists at Deaconess didn’t want to take night or weekend calls related to the vascular lab, according to the suit. “Dr. Rembert,” the suit says, “expressed his view that cardiologists should be required to take call for those same procedures they performed during normal office hours. His concerns related to continuity and quality of care.”

The lawsuit, referring to the hospital as “BDH,” continues:

Dr. Rembert’s comments regarding the vascular lab and cardiologists frustrated BDH. BDH wanted to accommodate any demands made by the cardiologists.

So, according to the suit, Deaconess pressured Dr. Paradise to fire Dr. Rembert from Intercity Radiology. Dr. Paradise refused. Eventually, the suit says, the hospital declined to renew Intercity Radiology’s contract unless the two doctors were fired.

The doctors then formed Bozeman Radiology and were again granted medical privileges at Deaconess in 2011, the suit says. However, it says, they were barred from accessing the hospital’s PACS or attending monthly radiology committee meetings and, later that year, again lost their privileges.

Drs. Rembert and Paradise are seeking compensatory and punitive damages, legal fees, and other financial relief. Late last week, the hospital said it hadn’t seen the suit and had no comment.

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