Mont. rads sue hospital, cite abuse of monopoly power

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Montana Interventional and Diagnostic Radiology Specialists in Helena, Mont., has filed a lawsuit charging abuse of monopoly power against St. Peter’s Hospital, according to a report in Independent Record. The suit calls for restoration of staff privileges and payment for damages.

The practice had provided services at the hospital for nearly 20 years, but parted ways in 2009 when the hospital signed an exclusive contract with another radiology provider, according to the Independent Record.

In the complaint filed in District Court of Helena in August, the practice claimed that its physicians were the only fellowship-trained and subspecialty trained radiologists in the area, and the hospital had denied patients access to radiologists with these credentials.

Montana Interventional and Diagnostic Radiology Specialists requested staff privileges at the hospital in July 2011, and was informed that the department was closed to nonemployees, according to the report.

The lawsuit charges the hospital with unfair restraint of trade and violation of laws that base credentialing on economic relationships, according to the Independent Record. The radiologists also claim that St. Peter’s has denied access to imaging records.

Montana Interventional and Diagnostic Radiology Specialists opened the Helena Imaging Center, located near the hospital, on Aug. 6.