SimonMed imaging centers avoided regulation, even after safety concerns

As previously reported in Health Imaging, an unlicensed chain of imaging centers in Arizona is now being regulated after a female inmate and prison guard both found themselves stuck to an MRI machine. The incident attracted the attention of local news, who detailed the severe injuries the woman suffered. 

Now, ABC15 is continuing its investigation into how the SimonMed chain of over 60 imaging centers received a licensing exemption meant to reduce the regulatory burden on private practices. SimonMed is the largest medical imaging chain in the state, but its ownership was attributed to a single physician, despite records showing it is actually owned by an investment firm. 

In a series of emails obtained by the news outlet, Arizona Department of Health officials raise concerns about patient safety, questioning internally why the centers were allowed to operate without oversight. 

The ABC15 investigation notes an Arizona woman filed a lawsuit claiming she was accidentally injected with a sedative before an MRI exam at one of the centers, causing her to overdose. The incident was never investigated by the state, nor was the incident with the inmate and the guard. 

Details aren’t clear on why the SimonMed chain was exempt from the required license to operate, but it was deemed eligible for the private practice loophole back in 2018. The exemption was rescinded late last year, despite no changes in ownership of the facilities.

ABC15 has the full story with quotes from the emails obtained by journalists. You can read their coverage at the link below.

Chad Van Alstin Health Imaging Health Exec

Chad is an award-winning writer and editor with over 15 years of experience working in media. He has a decade-long professional background in healthcare, working as a writer and in public relations.

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