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Radiologist’s Suit Hurts Ex-partner’s Campaign

February 26, 2014
Written by: , Filed in: Medical Ethics, Practice Management
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A lawsuit accusing the Kansas City area’s largest radiology provider of anticompetitive behavior has caused some collateral damage to one of the partners in that radiology firm—Milton Wolf, MD, who is running for the U.S. Senate.

Yes, it’s the same Dr. Wolf who drew criticism over the weekend for having posted grisly X-ray images on his Facebook page and having joked about them. We told you about that brouhaha on Monday. Also on Monday, the Kansas City Star reported that the candidate was being tied to the lawsuit’s allegations of a conspiracy to limit competition for radiological services.

Dr. Wolf issued a statement condemning the lawsuit and saying it had no connection to his campaign:

Attempts to link this frivolous case to public policy propositions I have made while running for U.S. Senate show either a failure, or a refusal, to follow the facts.

Here’s what’s happened:

  • Mark Idstrom, MD, filed a lawsuit in 2012 accusing his former partners in Alliance Radiology of fixing prices. We reported on the claim in July 2013, when he amended it to include an accusation that his ex-partners conspired to kick him out of the practice so they could make more money in a proposed merger (which never happened).
  • This week, a spokesman for U.S. Senator Pat Roberts, R-Kansas, whom Dr. Wolf is challenging in the Republican primary election, raised the lawsuit as a campaign issue. Dr. Wolf is a partner in Alliance Radiology, although he is not individually named in Dr. Idstrom’s lawsuit. Roberts spokesman Leroy Towns said the lawsuit suggests that Dr. Wolf cares more about profits than patients.
  • Dr. Idstrom’s attorney, Brandon Boulware, said that as an Alliance partner, Dr. Wolf was indeed a participant in the firm’s anticompetitive strategy. (Boulware was contacted by the Star’s estimable Dave Helling, who was a fellow journalism student with your humble correspondent at Creighton University a long, long time ago.)
  • Lawyers for Alliance strongly denied the accusations in Dr. Idstrom’s lawsuit. A spokesman for Dr. Wolf’s campaign also strongly denied the accusations of anticompetitive conspiracy against Dr. Wolf.

Dr. Idstrom has said that since his dismissal from Alliance in February 2012, he has been unable to find radiology work in the Kansas City area. He claims potential damages of more than $7.8 million.

Meanwhile, Dr. Wolf is no doubt ready for this week to end.

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A Florida appeals court throws out a $2.5 million wrongful birth award in a lawsuit that focuses on inaccurate fetal ultrasound reports. For details, see our Facebook page.

Related CME seminar (up to 42.5 AMA PRA Category 1 credits™): UCSF Radiology Review: COMPREHENSIVE IMAGING

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