Thursday, April 07, 2011

Texas Two-Step

The University of Texas Medical School at Houston is a fine institution, although it has lived somewhat in the shadow of its more famous neighbor, Baylor College of Medicine.  I'm a proud alum of the latter, although Baylor might not want me to publicize that fact.

UTH has found a way to stand out, although not in the way I would recommend.  On a web-page that appears somewhat cobbled-together, UTH offers us a wonderful new service:
Need answers? It's easy!
Offering second opinion and medical legal consultation for patients, medical professionals, and legal professionals.
Sharing this banner is an introduction to the UTH Radiology Consultation services from Dr. Susan John, Department Chair:

A message from Dr. John…

Susan D. John, M.D. Professor and J.S. Dunn Distinguished Chair In Radiology

It is my pleasure to welcome you to the Department of Diagnostic and Interventional Imaging at The University of Texas Medical School at Houston. The need for prompt, readily accessible, high quality consultation with experienced imaging subspecialists is growing in healthcare. We have created this website to help fill that need, providing you, our visitor, with the opportunity to seek a Second Opinion Consultation or a Medical Legal Consultation service with one of our distinguished faculty members. Our staff consists of board certified radiologists who have outstanding training and extensive experience in all imaging subspecialties. All faculty are actively involved in academic medicine and are conversant with state of the art imaging techniques and modalities. We are committed to providing the highest quality of information with competitive turnaround times.

To view our services, please select the service that you desire, and register with the site. One of our faculty will in contact you in the manner of your choosing. We look forward to serving you!
And serve you they will...on a silver platter.
Medical Legal Consultation

The Department of Diagnostic and Interventional Imaging at The University of Texas Medical School at Houston feel we have a responsibility to patients, society, and the medical profession to participate in medical legal consultations that ensure that these cases are properly, ethically, and accurately assessed at the highest level of integrity. We consider these services to be an essential part of the practice of medicine as advocated by both the American Medical Association and the American College of Physicians. No direct remuneration is received for these services, with proceeds from these activities used to fund medical student, resident physician, and faculty educational and research activities and services vital to the competent and excellent practice of diagnostic radiology at the UT Medical School.

Legal consultation is performed at an hourly rate to be negotiated between the attorney and the consulting radiologist. Cases will be reviewed by the most appropriate or requested expert subspecialist with a 3-hour advance payment for the confidential and full review of all of the initial documents and images as a consultant medical expert, including the radiologist’s analysis of the case and a verbal preliminary medical opinion on the merits of the case.

Following this review, if the consulting radiologist is requested to become an expert witness and agrees the case has merit, and after both the radiologist and requesting attorney sign the Health Care Consultant, Medical Expert Engagement Agreement, a 10-hour initial fee will be paid to the consultant as detailed in the contract, and the radiologist can then be officially named as an expert witness for the case. Further fees and expectations of payment for expenses, travel, deposition, reports, etc. are as detailed in the contract.
Try as I might, I can't torque this into anything that sounds at all like help for the defense.  The oft-repeated clause "merits of the case" speaks volumes.  If you are being sued and need an expert to testify on your behalf, the "merits of the case" don't affect you in the least.  Of course the case has no "merit" in the eyes of the defendant, but so what?  Clearly, UTH's efforts are directed toward helping the plaintiff and his attorney, and not their colleagues.  Nice.  Really nice.

If you have a problem with this practice, you might want to contact someone at The University of Texas Medical School at Houston and let them know.  Yee-haw.

1 comment :

PACSman said...

Didn't Dr John sing that 70's song "Right Place, Wrong Time" You know the one...

"I've been in the right place but it must have been the wrong time.

I'd have said the right thing but I must have used the wrong line...

Appropriate lyrics if you ask me...