Orthopedic surgeon sues Indiana health system


Orthopedic surgeon Greg Hardin, MD, is suing Mishawaka-based Franciscan Alliance, alleging the health system directed patients away from his practice, Inside Indiana Business reported June 24.

Dr. Hardin, owner of Indianapolis-based Center for Orthopaedic Surgery & Sports Medicine, filed his lawsuit in Indiana Commercial Court this month, claiming breach of fiduciary duties, dereliction and waste, intentional interference and breach of contract, the report said. 

He alleges that he and Franciscan Alliance were equal partners in South Indy MRI & Rehab Services and South Emerson Surgery Center. However, he claims the health system refused to pay its share of operating expenses and prematurely ended his practice's office lease "with full knowledge that …the magnetic resonance imaging machine is leased at the office through December 31, 2024."

Dr. Hardin's lawsuit alleges that the move was to make space for another medical practice doing business with an orthopedic practice. Dr. Hardin also alleges that the health system stopped, limited and/or redirected patient referrals away from his practice and the MRI venture to "undermine" him.

Since forming the MRI joint venture, the health system entered into a new partnership with another orthopedic group, the report said. The lawsuit alleges Franciscan didn't allow the MRI partnership with Dr. Hardin into its EHR and refused to market the venture, but it promoted its partnership with the other orthopedic group.

Dr. Hardin's hospital privileges were also suspended for an undisclosed period of time, and he was taken off Franciscan's physician roster, according to his lawsuit.

Dr. Hardin alleged that the health system's conduct caused a nearly 80% decrease in patient volume and revenues for the surgery center partnership, and both joint ventures became insolvent. 

Dr. Hardin is asking for a jury trial and unspecified damages.

A spokesman for Franciscan Alliance did not have an immediate comment for Inside Indiana Business.

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