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Cardiologist sues Via Christi Clinic alleging breach of contract

  • The Wichita Eagle
  • Published Wednesday, Nov. 13, 2013, at 5:41 p.m.
  • Updated Thursday, Nov. 14, 2013, at 5:23 p.m.

A former Via Christi cardiologist has filed a lawsuit against Via Christi Clinic in Sedgwick County District Court alleging breach of contract, according to court documents.

Jozef Mruk, who worked for the Wichita Clinic before it merged with Via Christi, was placed on medical leave Sept. 22, 2012, “pending evaluation regarding possible neurological problems or dysfunction,” according to court documents.

Stephen Mirakian, a lawyer with Wyrsch, Hobbs and Mirakian in Kansas City who represents Mruk, declined to comment for this story. But he said Mruk is not currently practicing medicine, although he still has his license and is board certified.

In an e-mailed statement, Gary Knight, general counsel for Via Christi Health, said: “We dispute Dr. Mruk’s allegations that we breached his employment contract and acted in bad faith and will be filing a response to his lawsuit with the court, at the proper time, to address his specific assertions.”

Mruk had worked at the clinic since 2000, according to Via Christi’s website.

A court date to consider the suit and Via Christi’s response has not been set.

Last fall, Mruk supplied evaluation reports confirming he was not disabled but Via Christi did not reinstate him, saying he was permanently disabled and needed an examination from three qualified physicians, the suit says.

The health system reduced his salary but began making disability payments.

In April 2013, Mruk underwent an examination by a board at Massachusetts General Hospital. The suit alleges that the parties had agreed neither party would discuss anything with the providers who were conducting the examination, but Via Christi spoke with board member Ronald Schouten “by providing VCH’s position and ‘point of view’ concerning Mruk.”

In June, the board recommended Mruk resume his regular duties, saying it found no physical or neurological issues that would interfere with his practice, according to the documents.

In July, Via Christi asked that Mruk also perform a sleep study and said it wouldn’t make any disability payment or salary payment “while he remains on leave,” according to the documents.

Mruk completed the sleep study in August, which confirmed he had no sleep disorder or sleep apnea, according to the suit. In September, a letter from Via Christi said it would not permit him to resume his practice and would not compensate him, according to the suit.

Mruk’s original contract with Via Christi goes until November 2015, according to the documents.

Mruk has a degree in medicine from Jagiellonian University in Poland, had a residency in internal medicine at St. Louis University Medical Center in St. Louis and had a fellowship in cardiology at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minn., according to his biography on Via Christi’s website.

Reach Kelsey Ryan at 316-269-6752 or kryan@wichitaeagle.com. Follow her on Twitter: @kelsey_ryan.

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