Sydney Cholovsky, M.D., devoted his life to making a difference in the lives of others. His legacy of expanding the radiology department at the Methodist Hospitals in Gary and Merrillville starting in the 1960s still resonates, according to staff and the physicians he mentored.
Cholovsky died in January. He was born in Winnipeg, Canada, Cholovsky graduated from medical school in the Canadian province of Manitoba in 1955. Two years later he enrolled in the radiology residency program at Michael Reese Hospital in Chicago.
After completing his residency in radiology, Cholovsky was recruited in 1962 to join the Gary Methodist Hospital staff and served at the Gary and Merrillville campuses for almost 35 years, growing the department to include a staff of 15 radiologists.
“He was the driving force behind the MRI Center at Methodist,” said Tulsi Sawlani, M.D., a board certified diagnostic radiologist and currently chief of radiology at Methodist Hospitals.
A group of physicians purchased the first MRI in the area, even before the University of Chicago had that equipment. In fact, the U of C sent patients to the Methodist for MRIs for a short period of time.
“Dr. Cholovsky wanted the MRI for outpatients,” Sawlani said. “We put together about 50 doctors for an imaging center. He didn’t become a partner, but he helped with the administration to get this done.”
When the federal government passed the Stark Law in 1990, the hospital purchased the MRI Center from the physicians, said Evelyn Morrison, hospital spokeswoman. That law prohibited physicians from referring Medicare or Medicaid patients to a designated health service, including an MRI Center, in which they had a financial relationship.
“That was during the time period that John H. Betjemann Jr. was president and CEO of Methodist Hospitals from 1980 through 2003,”…