ST. LOUIS — A North County cardiology firm has filed suit against SSM Health, seeking more than $50 million in damages after it says the health system terminated its staff memberships and clinical privileges.
St. Louis Heart and Vascular PC filed the lawsuit last month in St. Louis County Circuit Court.
It says that in January, SSM told St. Louis Heart that it was entering an exclusive adult cardiovascular agreement with an unnamed provider for all of its hospitals. SSM added that as of April 2, St. Louis Heart's employees would no longer be eligible for medical staff membership or clinical privileges at its hospitals, and that the decision was "not based on your professional competence or conduct," according to the lawsuit.
The suit makes the case that the decision is damaging to St. Louis Heart's business because, for example, its Bridgeton facility is located across the street from SSM's DePaul Hospital. That location "ensures immediate access at (DePaul) to adult cardiology patients who require an emergency room, an in-patient catheterization laboratory, or cardiac surgery services," it said.
And St. Louis Heart says since 2016 it's invested more than $10 million in the Bridgeton facility, called the Cardiology Medical Center, plus more than $5 million for its equipment and $200,000 for furnishings. It's also invested hundreds of thousands of dollars to hire, train and maintain professional staff there, it said, adding that more than 20,000 patients have been treated at the facility since 2016.
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