Cardiologist sues for $20M after New York hospital blocks admitting privileges

Philip Totonelly Jr., MD, has filed a lawsuit against Carmel, N.Y.-based Putnam Hospital Center, claiming the hospital and other defendants owe him $20 million for allegedly blocking his application for admitting privileges, according to Westfair Business.

The lawsuit, which also names the operator of the hospital and the hospital's vice president of medical affairs as defendants, alleges the defendants blocked his application for "purposes of maintaining a monopoly on the admission of patients," according to the report.

Dr. Totonelly applied to Putnam Hospital Center for cardiology clinical privileges in May 2017 and was subsequently asked to provide documentation on his hospital cases during the previous two years.

"Applicants have the burden of producing information deemed adequate by the hospital for a proper evaluation of current competencies and other qualifications," PHC's vice president of medical affairs wrote in a May 2017 letter to Dr. Totonelly.

Dr. Totonelly asked how he could satisfy the requirement given that 2012 was the last time he had admitting privileges at a hospital. PHC's vice president of medical affairs allegedly advised him to take a continuing medical education course. Dr. Totonelly claims he was told by three medical associations that "no such course existed" and "they had never heard of such a requirement for admission privileges," according to the report.

Dr. Totonelly alleges the hospital deemed his application incomplete and withdrew it. He claims the hospital did not give him a clear explanation of its refusal to process his application, which violates the hospital's own bylaws.

Dr. Totonelly's lawsuit seeks $20 million in damages and a court order directing the hospital grant him admission privileges.

Access the full Westfair Business article here.

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