Friday, 14 June, 2024
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Radiological Society challenges legality of Life Healthcare expansion

Private hospital group Life Healthcare’s plans to expand into the SA imaging market have run into opposition from the country’s key industry association for radiologists, which is questioning the legality of the group’s first acquisition.

A Business Day report says Life Healthcare announced in February that it had bought the non-clinical imaging operations of the East Coast Radiology (ECR) practice in East London. It aims to leverage its experience with its European imaging business Alliance Medical Group. The transaction sees all the equipment and non-clinical staff from ECR’s six practices transferred to Life Healthcare, while the radiologists who interpret the images continue to run their own independent practices, with a guarantee of being able to provide their services to Life Healthcare for five years.

The rules set by the Health Professions Council of SA (HPCSA) stipulate that the radiographers who operate the machinery that takes images such as X-rays may not interpret the results, and that this role is the sole preserve of radiologists.

The Radiological Society of SA is now questioning the legality of the contract between Life Healthcare and ECR, saying it may contravene HPCSA rules on fee-sharing. In an open letter to doctors, radiographers and radiologists, the society said Life Healthcare had confirmed in writing that the radiologists’ fees would be shared variably with Life. “This contravenes the ethical rules on fee-sharing, and as radiologists charge a global fee, puts the determination of professional earnings in the hands of a corporate,” it said.

 

Business Day Pressreader article – Pushback on plans of expansion by Life Healthcare (Open access)

 

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