by Brendon Nafziger
, DOTmed News Associate Editor | August 11, 2011
It's been a rough month for Heart Check America, a now defunct whole-body imaging chain.
Earlier in the week
, Colorado's radiation health authorities handed down a $3.2 million fine, their biggest ever, on the firm and its owners, because they said its Denver office
violated state codes, such as performing electron-beam CT scans on patients without doctors' orders.
Now, Nevada residents are filing a class action suit against the business over alleged deceptive trade practices, claiming they're left with huge bills for body-scan packages even after the chain shuttered its Las Vegas office.
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In a suit filed last Friday, lead plaintiff Kenneth Barth said he and others signed nearly $4,000 contracts financed by Chase Bank USA for 10 years worth of body scans from the imaging chain, according to a Vegas Inc. write-up of the case. However, the suit alleges Heart Check America failed to disclose that Nevada state law requires a doctor's referral before scans can be done, so patients would have to pay for their own trips to a referring doctor.
Plus, the suit claims plaintiffs were stuck making payments to Chase to finance the contracts, even though the Heart Check America office closed in May.
According to court documents cited by KTNV, Heart Check America was $35,000 behind in rent and was evicted.
Heart Check America, which also once ran clinics in Illinois, New York, South Carolina, California and Washington, D.C., advertised whole-body CT screenings, bone density tests, virtual colonoscopies and other exams as part of a "virtual physical," according to reports. The company's website has been pulled down.
In June, the Illinois attorney general's office filed a lawsuit
against the firm's owners for what it described as "high-pressure sales" tactics