Technologist indicted over false mammo results

By Kate Madden Yee, staff writer

September 9, 2010 -- A radiologic technologist at a Georgia hospital has been indicted on 20 charges of submitting false mammogram results by marking mammography studies as completed even though they hadn't been reviewed by a physician.

Nearly 1,300 patients may have been affected, according to a statement released by the hospital's CEO on September 7. News reports indicate that as many as 10 women had suspicious findings but were never notified due to the technologist's alleged actions.

Former Perry Hospital employee Rachael Michelle Rapraeger has been charged by the Houston County District Attorney's office in a grand jury indictment for entering negative mammography results into the hospital's computer system without a physician's review, said Houston Healthcare System CEO Cary Martin.

"Perry Hospital supports the district attorney's decision to proceed with a criminal indictment," Martin said in the statement. "Perry Hospital is thoroughly cooperating with the Perry Police Department and the Houston County District Attorney in identifying all patients who were potentially impacted by Ms. Rapraeger's actions."

The investigation began on April 2, when the hospital discovered a discrepancy during a quality check of mammography exams and began a broader quality review.

According to the district attorney's office, Rapraeger acted alone and faces 10 counts of reckless conduct and 10 counts of computer fraud. Perry Hospital in Perry, GA, a 45-bed facility in the Houston Hospital provider network, also completed its own review of the case and has confirmed that Rapraeger acted alone, according to Martin.

Houston Healthcare estimated initially that 900 patients were affected by Rapraeger's actions. Now that its investigation is complete, however, an additional 389 patients have been found to be affected.

Rapraeger is accused of entering negative results for 1,289 mammograms at Perry Hospital that were not read by a radiologist from January 22, 2009, to April 1, 2010, said Jason Ashford, chief assistant district attorney for Houston County, in an Associated Press article. Women were told their test results were normal, although a radiologist never read them.

Of the 1,289 women, 10 of the mammograms entered as negative were actually positive, Ashford said, although whether these positive results were indicative of cancer or other breast abnormalities remains unclear.

"We have taken steps to locate and notify each of these patients," Martin said in the statement. "We at Perry Hospital and Houston Healthcare sincerely regret the actions of Ms. Rapraeger and the consequences such actions have brought by her unauthorized and inexplicable acts."

By Kate Madden Yee staff writer
September 9, 2010

Ga. hospital asks for police investigation, May 14, 2010

Hospital to retake 900 mammograms due to employee error, May 12, 2010

FDA cracks down on mammo RT records, February 26, 2010

Suspended Canadian radiologist: 'This is a modern-day lynching,' July 30, 2009

Canadian image audit: 70,000 reasons to have a PACS, July 20, 2009

Copyright © 2010

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