Heart Check America Fined for Allegedly Performing CT Scans Without Orders

Heart Check America Fined for Allegedly Performing CT Scans Without OrdersHeart Check America, a clinic in Denver, has been fined $3.2 million by the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment (CDPHE), The Associated Press reports.

The clinic was accused of performing CT scans on patients without orders from licensed doctors. The scans were also allegedly not read by a radiologist.

It is estimated that 150 people per week got CT scans at the facility. The procedures exposed these patients to “potentially unnecessary radiation doses,” Brian Vamvakias, x-ray cerfication unit leader at CDPHE, told the news source.

The fine is the largest ever imposed by the inspectors from Colorado’s radiation program, according to the AP.

The business reportedly acted suspiciously when the state began its investigation in April, officials from the agency told the publication. Allegedly, the company closed its Denver clinic abruptly in May. Health officials learned of this development when department representatives visited the office on May 5, three days after a notice of violation was handed down, and found it empty. Previously, the clinic stopped returning calls from the CDPHE.

“They stopped all communication with us, and we were left with no choice but to proceed with escalated enforcement and assess these penalties,” said Vamvakias.

Heart Check America also recently operated clinics in Nevada, Illinois, New York, South Carolina, California and Washington, D.C., but the company’s website was taken down recently and the office phone number at the Nevada location was no longer working.

According to Reuters, Heart Check America allegedly violated state regulations by performing scans for heart, lung, bone density and other functions without doctor’s orders, the scans were not read by a radiologist and the results were not communicated to patients in a timely manner. Some customers also alleged that the company used high-pressure sales tactics to bully them into paying thousands of dollars for scan packages lasting around 10 years.

Many times, patients at the clinic were asymptomatic, and the CDPHE found that a whole body scan was not appropriate in these cases. For patients to be exposed to this level of radiation, it must be of some benefit to a patient, the agency stated.

Mike Saccone, a spokesman for the Colorado Attorney General’s office told the news source that the agency’s consumer protection division is seriously investigating the company’s practices.

Reuters also reported that Heart Check America came to the attention of Colorado officials when Nevada authorities notified them that the company was under investigation for similar violations in their state.