Doc notches key win in court battle over certificate of need for MRI

A surgeon who’s fighting the state of North Carolina in a bid to make MRI scans more affordable just won an important victory in court.

Gajendra Singh, MD, has been working for years to open up more options for consumers in the Winston-Salem area. But he reached a roadblock last year when the state refused to grant him a certificate of need to provide magnetic resonance imaging. He subsequently sued last year, and a Superior Court judge buoyed his efforts last week by refusing the state’s bid to toss the suit, the Carolina Journal reported Nov. 21.

“The tragedy of this case is that Dr. Singh knows real people who need the scans he wants to provide,” his attorney, Joshua Windham, told the newspaper. “Yet the state has told him that those services aren’t allowed because they aren’t needed. You now have bureaucratic pencil-pushers and their calculators determining need over the experiences of real people.”

Singh first opened his business in August 2017 advertising MRI prices as low as $500, Radiology Business reported previously. However, the certificate of needs law—which have been repealed in more than a dozen other states—blocked him from doing so. Lawmakers in other jurisdictions have argued that such laws were put in place only to safeguard hospitals’ monopolies.

The surgeon has been renting an MRI machine, but that’s been costing him a small fortune. His imaging practice prides itself on providing scans with upfront pricing at just a fraction of the typical cost. One patient told the Journal she saved $2,000 by driving 50 miles to Singh’s practice. Windham said he’s fearful that the state will file further procedural motions to keep the case in limbo for years.

Read the entire story in the Carolina Journal.