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Dr. Preston Boles sues Greenwood Leflore Hospital, claims racial discrimination

Monday, August 2, 2021, 3:34 pm News Flash Archive

This morning, Dr. Preston Boles, a podiatrist employed by Greenwood Leflore Hospital, filed a racial discrimination lawsuit against the hospital.

The lawsuit, which represents only one side of a disagreement, may be seen here: Boles v. GLH complaint

In the lawsuit, Dr. Boles alleges that the hospital paid Dr. Joseph Assini, a fellow podiatrist, at a higher rate per procedure, because of his race. Assini, who passed away in May 2021, was white, while Dr. Boles is black.

In the complaint, there is no allegation of misconduct or impropriety by Dr. Assini.

Boles also claims that the hospital breached its contract with him, paying less than had been agreed to.

Boles had been in private practice since 1992, but in 2006, he sold his practice to GLH, bringing his established patient list into the hospital owned clinic, and becoming employed by the hospital as a staff podiatrist. Podiatry is a medical treatment area concerned with problems in the feet and lower limbs.

Due to growth in the practice, the hospital brought in an additional podiatrist, Dr. Joseph Assini, who practiced alongside Dr. Boles.

Boles claims that the hospital went to some lengths to keep the salaries and bonuses a secret between the two doctors.

However, in 2019, Boles claims he discovered that he was being paid at a lower rate than was Dr. Assini. Generally, the podiatrists were compensated by the "RVU", or "relative value unit," a method of grading medical procedures used by Medicare to determine provider compensation. One common way for hospitals to pay employee providers is to pay a certain rate per RVU worked.

Boles asserts that he was being paid $45 or less per RVU, while Assini was being paid $52 per RVU. During the period 2013 through 2019, Boles claims he was paid around $212,000 less than Assini would have been for the same amount of work done.

According to Boles, the hospital's then administrator, Gary Marchand, would only explain that Assini was "more productive" than Boles, but Boles considered that this did not explain the lower rate per RVU being paid to him.

Boles filed an EEOC complaint, and received his "right to sue" letter in May of this year.

Boles claims that in 2020 and 2021, the hospital guaranteed him a base salary, plus bonuses based on excess RVU's worked. He claims the hospital has shorted him just over $44,000 during these two most recent years.

Boles sues for breach of contract, and for racial discrimination under color of state law.

TTC reached out to hospital administration and the hospital attorney for comment, but their usual policy is not to comment on pending litigation.

John Pittman Hey
The Taxpayers Channel

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