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Illinois imaging center may jeopardize public health with faulty mammo exams

by Robin Lasky, Contributing Reporter | August 04, 2021
Women's Health
Last Wednesday, the Illinois Emergency Management Agency (IEMA) issued a notice to patients who received a mammogram at a Hoffman Estates imaging center citing a review by the American College of Radiology (ACR), which found that over half of the reviewed images did not meet ACR criteria and that the imaging center’s practices pose “a serious risk to public health.”

Hoffman Imaging and Medical Center came under scrutiny in August of 2020 when IEMA issued an order to cease providing mammography services pending completion of ACR certification — a prerequisite for IEMA accreditation to perform mammography services within the state.

Subsequently, ACR reviewed a sample of 30 mammography images, taken between October 17, 2019 and July 31, 2020, and determined that 16 of them did not comport with ACR imaging criteria.

“Mammograms are an important tool in the fight against breast cancer. Routine mammograms and breast exams can detect cancer early and provide men and women with better treatment options and results,” IEMA director Alicia Tate-Nadeau said in a statement.

After the initial order to halt mammography services until Hoffman Imaging had obtained the required certification, it was later discovered that the facility continued to perform mammograms on at least 100 patients between December 2020 and March of 2021, now with new ownership registered under the name Hoffman MRI Inc.

IEMA issued a second order in April of 2021 ordering the facility to discontinue mammography services until it had been properly certified and accredited.

Accordingly, IEMA has recommended that all patients who may have been affected by faulty imaging practices seek a second opinion in order to ensure the accuracy of their cancer screening results.

In November of 2020, the same facility had also been operating under the name “Hope Imaging and Medical Center” when Omayr K. Niazi, a pharmacy tech and then apparent vice-president of Hope Imaging, is alleged to have administered a CT contrast imaging dye to a woman without having undergone the required training and certification.

After the patient experienced an adverse reaction to the dye, the matter was reported to investigators resulting in Mr. Niazi’s arrest. On May 4, 2021, Mr. Niazi’s bail was set at $100,000 by Cook County Judge Ellen Mandeltort.

Though Hope Imaging has been legally dissolved and no longer has an active web presence, the website for Hoffman MRI remains live, but currently includes a notice stating, “At the moment we are not taking any mammogram appointments.”

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