General Cardiology Health Care Reform

A cardiologist sues. Imagine that…

If only it was like the old days reading ECG’s in the bland room with Dr Fisch.

A cardiologist sues a hospital in Ohio and stands to gain millions.  Reminds one of the angry kid on the playground who does not like the game and takes his bat and ball home, but in this case also gets a pot of gold for his trouble.

Early in the morning or before leaving the hospital there is this job called reading “graphics,” or the interpretation of ECG’s, echos and nuclear stress tests.  Hospitals generate bunches of these, more so lately as many primary care doctors are owned by hospitals and henceforth send their patients to the hospital, rather than the cardiologists office, to get out-patient testing.

Reading graphics is like when a cardiologist imitates a radiologist and sits with a coffee or soft drink and interprets images.  Money is made sitting down and importantly, if a stress test is positive or ultrasound image awry, that previously “unassigned” patient is now theirs.  In cardiology this is good.

Similar to a bonus question on a high school test, graphics is extra work that either delays rounds in the morning or delays the evening bike ride or even worse, makes a coach late to the evening game.  For the really busy, this creates a conflict between getting home to a life or making more money.  But for the not so busy (not so busy often for a reason- wink) reading these images is beautiful as it represents an avenue of entry into the game. An accumulation of patients not by a referral or skill, but simply by virtue of being assigned a week in the rotation.

Apparently in Cincinnati a hospital assigned the gravy consumption based on the volume done at the hospital.  A doctor who got less image reading assigned sued, and said this policy was against the federal law.   Admittedly I am unknowledgeable in law but it seems reasonable that the largest groups get more and the smaller groups less.  Playground logic: the best kids get more playing time but all get some.   Shouldn’t the primary group in the hospital read the majority and likewise why should a doctor who rarely works there get to sit for weeks on end reading the lucrative images and accumulating patients?  In my house as in most, you can’t just eat dinner and not help cook and clean.

Even more complicated in our city is the fact that a “graphics” reading doctor may actually be employed by a competing hospital.  This is akin to Wal-mart helping to pay a Target employee.

The EP lab has heavy doors and is away from the main field and so these arguments are in the distance which is good.


2 replies on “A cardiologist sues. Imagine that…”

Plenty of doctors sue and threaten to sue. Usually not the good ones though. I'm not an expert, but I suspect the lawsuit is based on the so-called Stark laws, the "anti-kickback" provisions. The sponsor, Pete Stark, is a left wing Dem who either doesn't understand basic economics and incentives as well as you do, or who understands but nonetheless thinks it is the government's business to decide who eats and how much, and to then assign the clean up duty without regard to the contribution to the grocery bill or preparation effort. By all means, let's put the entire medical industry into his and like-minded hands.


i am looking for expert witness for my fathers case,cardiovasular perfer someone who is expert in ihss, and,what they think of heart ablations for this.who not afraid to go up aganist whats going on with our medical system,and do whats right instead of them all covering for one another for that matter, need good lawyer.please help here in oklahoma,so many bad things are happening that people,would not believe,till it happened to our family. i know this goes on everywhere and my story is like so many others,but it has to stop,there is so much that people need to know. anyone out there that can HELP please respond

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