A temporary restraining order covering radiology services at Maui Memorial Medical Center will remain in effect until at least Wednesday, meaning that incumbent contractor Maui Radiology Associates will continue to provide services for the time being.
On Wednesday, a hearing in 2nd Circuit Court will determine whether an exclusive contract for radiology services at Maui Memorial Medical Center remains with Maui Radiology or turns over to RadCare, a national company based in Dallas, Texas.
On Friday morning, Judge Kelsey Kawano heard arguments from attorneys representing both sides in a dispute over the contract award. The judge took the arguments under advisement and is expected to rule on a number of issues, including whether he has jurisdiction to continue hearing the matter in an evidentiary hearing tentatively scheduled for 10 a.m. Wednesday in 2nd Circuit Court.
Attorney Randy Vitousek, representing Hawaii Health Systems Corp. and other defendants involved in awarding the contract to RadCare, argued that the physicians with Maui Radiology Associates have no legal basis to challenge the award of the contract to RadCare because the Legislature set up the state's public hospital system to give administrators autonomy to manage procurement, upgrade facilities and control costs.
He said lawmakers wanted hospital administrators to be "nimble" and flexible in providing quality health care to residents.
Attorney Margery Bronster, representing MRA, said the hospital is a public, government entity that is subject to judicial review.
She told Kawano that hospital officials don't want the judge to review the hospital's bid review process for radiology services because it was "rotten," and hospital officials violated their own procurement rules.
Vitousek said MRA finished last in the bid review process and wanted a $600,000 annual subsidy, while RadCare did not demand a subsidy and would earn money simply by billing patients.
Bronster said MRA was the only responsive and responsible bidder with qualified doctors ready to provide services at the time bid proposals were submitted. The hospital's rules required bidders to be qualified, she said. Unqualified bidders were supposed to be disqualified automatically.
For more on this story, see the Saturday issue of The Maui News.