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Spurned Radiologists Say Quality Downplayed

June 26, 2012
Written by: , Filed in: Practice Management
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Maui Radiology Associates, the longtime exclusive provider of radiology services for Maui Memorial Medical Center on the Hawaiian island of Maui, has filed a legal challenge to the loss of its contract with the hospital.

Maui Memorial, in the town of Wailuku, has signed a two-year contract with RadCare of Dallas. The company is to take over radiology services at the hospital on July 5.

David Heeney, MD, president of Maui Radiology, said the quality of the radiologists will decrease:

They’re only going to be able to get n’er-do-wells and people who aren’t wanted anywhere else or retired.

Dr. Heeney was quoted in The Maui News. He said he it would be difficult for RadCare to persuade doctors to uproot their families and move to Maui. “They view radiologists as a commodity,” he said of RadCare. “You can buy some, sell some. They’re a dime a dozen. That’s their view of it.”

Maui Radiology contends that the entire contract selection and awarding process was geared toward the lowest cost and not the best quality of care.

In its legal challenge, Maui Radiology objected to a change in the selection process that minimized “background, qualification, and experience.” In previous years, Maui Radiology said, that component was given 35 percent weight.

This time, according to Wesley Lo, Maui Memorial’s chief executive officer, the factors in scoring the proposals were 10 percent background, qualification, and experience; 30 percent service delivery plan; 30 percent management and control; and 30 percent cost.

That weighting, Lo said, was in accordance with state procurement procedures.

The Maui Regional Board of Hawaii Health Services Corporation made the final selection of the radiology contract on May 29, despite a recommendation¬† of the hospital’s Medical Executive Committee in favor of Maui Radiology. Hawaii Health Services operates Hawaii’s state hospitals.

Hospital officials said they expected to save $600,000 a year with RadCare compared with Maui Radiology. Andrew Kayes, MD, of Maui Radiology said he doubted the projected savings because the hospital went against the recommendations of its Medical Executive Committee.

“Since the doctors on the Medical Executive Committee have the power to send the referred patients elsewhere,” Dr. Kayes said, “it is certainly possible that the MMMC executive staff have shot themselves in the food and any savings on call pay will be lost due to lost referrals.”

Related seminar: UCSF Radiology Review: CLINICAL HIGHLIGHTS

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