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Radiology Businesses Sue VA Over CON Law

June 7, 2012
Written by: , Filed in: Gastrointestinal Imaging, Practice Management
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Two radiology businesses have filed a federal lawsuit challenging Virginia’s certificate-of-need (CON) law regarding health-care providers, saying the law unconstitutionally restricts interstate commerce.

Radiologist Mark Monteferrante, MD, wants to open a radiology clinic in Northern Virginia. He heads Progressive Radiology, which has nine clinics in Maryland and one in Washington, DC. According to the Associated Press, he says the process of applying to the state health commissioner for a Certificate of Public Need is onerous and stacked in favor of the dominant provider, Inova Health System of Falls Church, Virginia.

At an earlier practice, he said, it took him five years and $175,000 just to obtain permission to add a second MRI machine. Robert McNamara, one of his attorneys, said:

Virginia’s CON program is nothing more than the government’s permission slip to compete, amounting to a certificate of monopoly for favored established businesses.

McNamara works for the Institute for Justice, a libertarian law firm in Arlington, Virginia. He was quoted in an institute news release.

Another plaintiff in the lawsuit is Mark Baumel, MD, who is board-certified in internal medicine, pulmonary medicine, and sleep disorders medicine. He is president and chief executive officer of Colon Health Centers of America, which offers CT colonography—so-called virtual colonoscopy.

The company operates in Delaware and plans to expand into New Jersey. But, according to the institute, the Virginia CON program will not allow him to operate in that state.

Maribeth Brewster, a spokeswoman for the Virginia Department of Health, declined to comment on the lawsuit, which was filed Tuesday. The health department says that in the past two years, 80 to 85 CON applications have been approved.

Thirty-five other states and the District of Columbia also have CON laws. The federal government once required them in all states, but that requirement was dropped in 1986. They were designed to rein in health-care costs by limiting the addition of expensive new facilities and equipment whose costs were passed along to consumers.

The surviving laws vary greatly in what they cover. Some restrict only the placement of hospitals. Virginia’s is particularly far-reaching, according to the institute.

Related seminar: UCSF Abdominal and Pelvic Imaging: CT/MR/US (all-new release)

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One Response to “Radiology Businesses Sue VA Over CON Law”

  1. Radiology Daily»AlertArchive » Judges Revive Radiologists’ Anti-CON Lawsuit on October 24th, 2013 at 2:47 pm

    […] Radiology, a radiologist-owned full-service imaging practice, filed the lawsuit earlier in 2012, as we reported at the time. The two companies wanted to open clinics in Virginia after establishing themselves in nearby […]