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  • New Radiology Contract for Local Community Hospital

    My local community hospital system is shopping their radiology contract due to poor service and poor readings as well as a failure by the current group to resolve problems that have been brought up. The hospital administration is vetting multiple options, and one of them is the large group known as "Radiology Partners".

    Does anyone have experience with this group? How is their quality? How is their turnaround time? Anything else that you know about them?

    I am on the medical board and have been asked to weigh in with an opinion, but I don't have sufficient experience with radiology groups and contracts to know what to look for. I do have experience with the current problems with timeliness and quality of readings from the end user perspective, but again, I don't feel that I have enough knowledge to have a meaningful opinion on this contract decision.

  • #2
    Sent PM

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    • #3
      I don’t have any direct experience with RP, but I can say when I was looking for a job I actively avoided them. A friend showed me an email sent from his RP overlords that basically said hey everyone you aren’t being efficient enough, so starting tomorrow everybody needs to read more studies in less time so we can make more money.

      the American College of Radiology (ACR) job board has hundreds of job openings for RP groups. If you go with them I would anticipate being understaffed a lot of the time, unless your location is so desirable that people will take a pay cut to work there.

      Are there other entrepreneurial groups in the vicinity looking to expand?

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      • #4
        Check out auntminnie, many threads on the topic. They are universally despised by most Radiologists. They are a huge corporate entity that has been taking over the field. Most desirable locations have been swallowed by private equity like RP, so rads who are geographically restricted or like nice places often have no other choice but to work for them.

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        • #5
          They're well known among radiologists. My understanding is the RP groups are only as good as the group was at the time of takeover. I'm not sure of what happens if they put their own boots on the ground to replace an already existing group of rads.

          A lot of the same negative stuff you'd hear about for any VC/PE healthcare corp- overwork/underpay. I've never worked for them, so my knowledge is hearsay from both radiology forums and a couple I know from training who work for them.

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          • #6
            Radpartners is basically the bottom barrel of rads jobs so I'm not sure you'll get the quality you'd hope to have. iirc, you're in a desirable area though, so maybe quality people will come regardless. My understanding is that RP has a terrible bond rating and a lot of loans coming due though and people are wondering if they're going to implode.

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            • #7
              RP is a private equity-owned radiology company. If your hospital system only needs remote radiology reads the quality is going to vary depending on the RP rads reading for it. Where RP often falls short is in the physical presence in your hospitals. RP is going to staff it locally with the least number of rads it can get away with. It will need to hire local rads and I would not be surprised if they ended up hiring some of the rads currently staffing the hospital system. A well-run private practice group is going to provide better service than RP.

              Is the current rad group aware how precarious their situation is? If you don't like most of the rads in the group there is nothing to salvage. If there are a few problem rads then another option is to let the group know which rads are no longer welcome.

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              • #8
                RP is a huge private equity backed group. Typically not desirable among radiologists who have other options. My understanding of their model is to provide the minimum necessary boots on the ground, with excess studies being read by lower cost telerads. I struggle to see how that equates to higher quality service, but I don't have personal experience with them (or your current group).

                I have heard of admins wanting RP for cost savings. I have not heard of referring physicians wanting RP for report quality.

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                • #9
                  +1 to basically everything that has been said about RP so far. One thing I would add is that they also have the reputation (like a lot of PE backed groups) to way over promise to get the contract and then massively under deliver.

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                  • #10
                    RP has a terrible reputation. As others have said, stay away from them.

                    FWIW, it is very difficult to hire radiologists right now. A few years ago, there were ~200 jobs listed on the ACR board. Now there are close to 1400. If it hasn’t already, the hospital may want to look into the problems causing the quality/ TAT and have open discussions with the rads. Some of the issues may be related to the constant increase in imaging and the job market.

                    If it’s truly a bad practice and not able to be fixed, I would send out an RFP to large nearby practices (with the incumbent practice able to submit a proposal as well) and see if any of them would want to take over the contract. If they do, you can work with them to retain the decent/ not terrible rads. The hospital may find out that they are expecting too much as well and that only RP will be willing to take over the contract. My understanding is that will say anything to take over the contract and then you’re stuck with them.

                    Btw, have you had discussions with the rads as to what is going on? If you’re on the medical board, you probably should. If you had tried and they’re not receptive, then an alternative might be best.

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                    • #11
                      Originally posted by dayman View Post
                      I have heard of admins wanting RP for cost savings. I have not heard of referring physicians wanting RP for report quality.
                      Sounds about right

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                      • #12
                        "I do have experience with the current problems with timeliness and quality of readings from the end user perspective"

                        The proverbial jumping from the frying pan into the fire is possible (probable). From reading only, RA doesn't have "staff" for your hospital. The question is how they would staff it and if they have any existing contracts in the area. Going to be tough to check out references. Your current contract might be better dig a little farther into the quality issues, they might have some constraints that will limit other groups.
                        Your BATNA may be a better understanding of the causes of the quality issues and constraints.

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                        • #13
                          Some additional info.

                          The current radiology group is primarily serving another system in our region. Our smaller hospital system has been treated as the poor step child in terms of radiology services. There have been multiple meetings over time with the current rads group and there is an acknowledgment of the problems and a promise to fix things, but things never seem to change.

                          Today, I learned more, the plot thickens....

                          The Chief of Rads at the smaller hospital system (that is looking for a change) does some part time moonlighting reading from home for Rad Partners. It is this same chief of rads at our hospital system that is pushing for Rad Partners. Interesting in that all of the other rads on this forum are saying stay away from Rad Partners, but the current chief wants to continue to be chief and wants the hospital to consider Rad Partners above others.

                          What might the motivating factor be for this if they are such a poor organization to work for?

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                          • #14
                            RP acquires contracts by either buying out the existing group or by taking over the hospital contract by RFP/sweet-talking the admin. Older/retiring rads sellout the contract because they want a payout before they retire -- although they are usually obligated to work a handful of years to get the full amount, some which may be in stocks of questionable value (the house always wins IMO). So there is probably some financial motivation. Doesn't sound kosher but who knows.

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                            • #15
                              Originally posted by White.Beard.Doc View Post
                              Some additional info.

                              The current radiology group is primarily serving another system in our region. Our smaller hospital system has been treated as the poor step child in terms of radiology services. There have been multiple meetings over time with the current rads group and there is an acknowledgment of the problems and a promise to fix things, but things never seem to change.

                              Today, I learned more, the plot thickens....

                              The Chief of Rads at the smaller hospital system (that is looking for a change) does some part time moonlighting reading from home for Rad Partners. It is this same chief of rads at our hospital system that is pushing for Rad Partners. Interesting in that all of the other rads on this forum are saying stay away from Rad Partners, but the current chief wants to continue to be chief and wants the hospital to consider Rad Partners above others.

                              What might the motivating factor be for this if they are such a poor organization to work for?
                              If he is selling the group to Rad Partners his motivation is the financial payday in selling to them.

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