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Patients unable to access medical records after clinics close

HCPRO Website, June 10, 2016

A chain of health clinics in New Mexico closed after filing for bankruptcy and left patients without access to their medical records, KRQE News 13 reported.

Atrinea Health operated urgent care and family practice clinics in Albuquerque, Rio Rancho, Santa Fe, Los Lunas, and Ruidoso. The company filed for bankruptcy in 2015 and in March a federal judge ordered the company to shut down all its clinics and sell its assets.

A patient advocate was appointed by the court to coordinate patients’ transition to other clinics and physicians. However, many patients said they have not received their medical records. Their new physicians have had to reorder tests that were recently performed by Atrinea Health clinics and complete new exams to document pre-existing conditions. In some cases, patients were left without access to prescriptions. Other former Atrinea Health patients reported that they received little or no advance warning that the clinics were closing and that it’s difficult to find physicians who are accepting new patients.

Atrinea Health’s phone number remains in service but connects to a recording informing callers that the clinics closed March 18. The recording directs patients to contact their insurance provider for assistance with finding a new primary care physician. Callers are given the option of leaving a message with their contact information. Although the recording states that calls will be returned within 24 hours, Atrinea Health is not responding to messages, patients said.

The state medical board received complaints that patients were unable to obtain copies of their medical records after Atrinea Health closed and is investigating, KRQE said.

Under HIPAA, patients have the right to request copies of their medical records. Covered entities and business associates must follow HHS’ guidance on individuals’ rights to access their medical records, including fees for copies and verifying the requesting individual’s identity. Organizations must provide copies of the requested records within 30 days of receiving the request.