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Missouri Radiology Department Investigated

January 16, 2012
Written by: , Filed in: Diagnostic Imaging, Medical Ethics, Practice Management
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The University of Missouri Department of Radiology appears to be under investigation.

The Columbia Daily Tribune newspaper of Columbia, Missouri (home of the university), reported Sunday that:

Multiple sources have told the Tribune that radiology employees, including low-level staff members, recently were instructed by the UM System General Counsel’s office not to delete e-mails or destroy documents, indicating an investigation.

The newspaper also reported that an internal audit published in late 2010 found that University of Missouri Health Care had been providing radiology services to Medicare patients at Women’s and Children’s Hospital in Columbia without proper physician orders. The audit found that 62.5 percent of the cases it reviewed lacked proper authorization.

University of Missouri System attorney Paul McGuffey told the paper, “The fact that physician signatures didn’t accompany orders didn’t necessarily mean services were unnecessary.”

The newspaper reported that a new computerized order entry system seems to have cleared up the problem.

It’s unclear whether the radiology department investigation is related. In fact, it’s not certain that there is an investigation. Neither the university nor officials at the U.S. Department of Justice and the Missouri Department of Health and Human Services would confirm or deny the existence of one—although, as the newspaper suggested, the document-preservation instruction is a pretty strong clue.

Here’s another: the quiet departure late last year of Kenneth Rall, MD, as radiology department chairman. “The announcement of his retirement,” the newspaper reported, “came in a three-sentence blurb tucked between news of a Xerox partnership and a weekly quiz in the Dec. 21 issue of MU Health Care’s ‘InSight’ newsletter.”

Dr. Rall remains a faculty member. Amolak Singh, MD, is interim chairman.

Dr. Rall’s past includes accusations of embezzling money from his radiology partners in the 1980s, the Tribune reported. He faced felony charges of writing checks for bogus Medicaid refunds and then signing the checks over to himself. A few days before the trial, the prosecutor overseeing the case said he had lost the evidence. Dr. Rall wound up with a misdemeanor stealing conviction.

He also testified that he had paid back $928,000 that he had gained from a check-kiting scheme in which he used the “float”—the time lag in communication between banks in those pre–electronic banking days—to inflate one account balance with nonexistent funds from another account.

We’ll keep an eye out for developments.

* * *

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One Response to “Missouri Radiology Department Investigated”

  1. Radiology Daily»AlertArchive » Med School Cites Fraud In Firing 2 Radiologists on June 4th, 2012 at 10:03 am

    […] reported on the news conference. The newspaper has been following this story for some time. As we noted back in January, the Tribune reported then that the health system was under investigation. It had noted earlier […]