"The Ronan Report" provides insight about the activities at the Western Maryland Health System in Cumberland, Maryland, and about the changes taking place in healthcare today from a CEO's perspective.

Friday, April 18, 2014

An Appalling Story

This AM, I read a story about a woman from Macon, Georgia, who WAS a radiological technician.  She was just sentenced to 6 months in jail, 10 years probation, a $12,500 fine and not allowed to work in health care for 10 years.  Her crime, she was too busy to read mammograms of over 1289 patients so she simply entered them as negative.  Of the 1289 patients, 10 had breast cancer and two have since died.  The District Attorney said the plea deal was fair.  Really?  Because she had personal problems and got behind in her work, she directly contributed to the deaths of two people.  The DA said that she was also very cooperative; one can surmise that the hospital where she worked is being sued.  

After I shared the article with my team, I was immediately assured that we have many systems of checks and balances in Radiology, Lab and the rest of our clinical areas.  It is always good to check, just in case.  A few years ago something similar happened at WMHS involving a Billing Office employee who was also suffering from a host of personal problems and decided not to do her job.  In fact, she created a ruse to demonstrate that she was performing as she was supposed to be performing.  Once her deception was uncovered, she was immediately fired and and it took a great deal of time to recover hundreds of thousands of dollars in billings that were never submitted, which we did.  We immediately audited her areas of responsibilities and put a number of safeguards in place to ensure that a similar practice could not recur.  In our case, it involved money and it served as a great learning experience.  Thank God, that our learning experience didn't involve the loss of life.

1 comment:

  1. I assume you meant a Radiologist not an RT, because at least legally a Radiology Technician is not authorized to read/interpret studies but to acquire the images and submit them to the radiologist for interpretation. That is at least the standard procedure in Maryland and most other states I am aware of. Not withstanding it is necessary to be reminded of the responsibility that comes with any healthcare job. Thank you