This is outside our usual catchment area, but interesting nonetheless. The Indiana Supreme Court ruled on March 8 that the state’s Medical Malpractice Act (MMA) does not apply to claims for indemnification filed by one medical provider against another. The decision allows a contract claim by a hospital system against an outside radiology group to proceed, because the MMA’s statute of limitations does not preclude the claim.

The incident that led to the dispute occurred in 2011, when a patient at a hospital in the Franciscan Health system had two CT scans of the brain. In interpreting the images, outside radiologists employed by Lake Imaging, LLC allegedly overlooked bleeding in the patient’s brain. When the man died, his sons filed a malpractice suit against the hospital system, believing that the radiologists were hospital employees.

The hospital system and the patient’s family reached a settlement in 2015. When Franciscan sought reimbursement for the payment from Lake Imaging, based on an indemnity provision in their 2004 service agreement, the radiology practice argued that Franciscan failed to bring the claim within the two-year statute of limitations for medical malpractice in the MMA.

In its decision rejecting Lake Imaging’s argument, the Supreme Court stated that “there is nothing in the MMA to suggest that it extends beyond the physician-patient relationship to encompass commercial contracts between healthcare providers.”

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