By Kate Madden Yee, staff writer

July 5, 2011 -- Three hospitals in the Mercy Health Partners system are ending a contract early with national radiology management and interpretation services firm Imaging Advantage (IA) to create their own radiology group, according to a letter written to the hospital staff on May 20.

"We have taken the medical staff's input over the last two years and are enacting change to make a better model for our patients, medical staff, and the community," wrote Mercy hospital CEOs of Mercy St. Charles Hospital, Mercy St. Anne Hospital, and Mercy St. Vincent Medical Center, all located in Ohio.

In 2009, Mercy ended a longstanding contract with Consulting Radiologists Corporation (CRC) -- with 19 days notice -- and hired Imaging Advantage to provide radiology management and interpretation services. The network's original agreement with Imaging Advantage went through December 2013; Mercy has renegotiated the contract so that it will end in December 2012. The letter describes the shift as a "mutual decision between Imaging Advantage and Mercy."

Mercy's plan is to gather a team of physicians who will provide interventional and diagnostic radiology to all of the network's metro hospitals, Sarah Bednarski, Mercy director of public relations, told

"Mercy and IA began proactive discussions about transition with a goal of moving toward an employment model for radiology and to ensure continuity of services provided to patients," Bednarski said. "Mercy's employment model will include physicians currently on medical staffs, as well as hiring additional radiologists to grow our services."

By December 2012, the transition from IA management to Mercy should be complete, according to Bednarski.

"Over the past two years, IA has provided Mercy with the critical framework and physician base needed that now allows us to build upon and successfully operate and manage a Mercy-employed radiology group," she said.

When Mercy hired Imaging Advantage two years ago, the partnership was ahead of the curve, according to Imaging Advantage CEO Naseer Hashim.

"[Mercy's contract with IA] demonstrated the vision of Mercy's leadership, and since 2009 Mercy's decision has been more than validated," Hashim told "Over the past two years, our program has provided Mercy with the necessary framework and high-quality and experienced radiologists that allow them to successfully manage and operate a Mercy-employed radiology group."

Imaging Advantage and Mercy plan to work together to complete the transition, Hashim said.

"In the next 18 months, Imaging Advantage and Mercy will work intensively to complete the implementation of the parties' vision at Mercy, at which point Imaging Advantage will have delivered a transformative, turnkey solution to its client," he said. "We are always in complete alignment with our hospital clients' goals."

Copyright © 2011

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