Mystic medical clinic among three closing with short notice

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Mystic — Patients treated at the Seaport Medical clinic here are scrambling to transfer their records and care after learning the clinic is closing for good Friday.

Citing financial woes, the chief executive officer of the clinic’s owner, Willimantic-based InHealth Connecticut, confirmed Wednesday that the company is closing the Mystic clinic, as well as two others it operates in Norwich and Willimantic, which it expects to shutter by the end of the month.

While InHealth hopes to avoid filing for bankruptcy, “It’s still a possibility,” the CEO, David Allcott, said.

InHealth acquired the former Seaport Medical Center in 2016, and moved it from a Whitehall Avenue location to the Mystic Green plaza off Coogan Boulevard last August, according to Geoffrey Burnham, a physician’s assistant who worked there.

Burnham said Wednesday that he and Dr. Edmund West, who headed the clinic, were informed a week ago that the clinic would be closed.

“He (Allcott) came in last Thursday and said that after exploring options, they had decided to close the business,” Burnham said. “That was after he had told us about six weeks before that they’d be filing for bankruptcy, reorganizing and staying in business.”

Burnham said he was given two hours’ notice that he could no longer provide care. Patients learned that they would have until the end of Friday to file written requests to have their records transferred.

“People may feel a panic, but they shouldn’t worry,” Allcott said. “The way it works best is for them to call their insurance company and get a list of physicians in the area, then find one that’s accepting new patients. We can transfer their records electronically, or in writing. It can take up to 30 days.”

He said InHealth is looking into giving patients their records on CDs.

Doris Wickerd, a Mystic patient who relies on the clinic for check-ups and to have her prescriptions called in to the pharmacy at the Naval Submarine Base, said she never heard from the clinic.

“Somebody dropped the ball,” she said. “It got out by word-of-mouth. Nothing was ever posted.”

Burnham said a high percentage of the clinic’s patients are elderly, some of whom may not be adept at emailing. “To ask them to transition to a new doctor in a week is not reasonable,” he said.

Asked what prompted the closings, Allcott said, “Thank Trump.”

“With the fixes to Obamacare and Medicare, it’s just not financially feasible to be in primary care as a small provider," he said. "Medicare compensation does not cover a physician’s salary, much less the overhead" of operating a medical office.

InHealth, which Allcott said had absorbed seven private practices into its three locations, originally hoped to expand into Massachusetts and Rhode Island.

“Our model was to take care of the business part and allow physicians to be physicians,” he said.

An entry on the website of the Connecticut secretary of the state lists Allcott’s brother, Timothy, and ARO Equity, both of the same Peabody, Mass., address, as principals of InHealth Connecticut. Timothy Allcott and ARO Equity are among the subjects of a complaint that Massachusetts authorities filed last year in connection with an alleged Ponzi scheme. Also named in the complaint is Thomas Renison, a Connecticut resident and former investment adviser representative who in 2014 was barred from the securities industry.

The complaint alleges that ARO Equity raised about $5.8 million through the sale of securities and invested less than $2.9 million of it in three unnamed business ventures, one of which was the parent company of “a collection of affiliated entities purported to manage a network of urgent-care medical clinics in Massachusetts and Connecticut.” The parent company "has failed to consistently generate profits," the complaint says. 

Dave Allcott said ARO Equity invested in InHealth Connecticut.

“Sorry, but I have nothing to do with, or say about, any allegations made by the Massachusetts secretary of state,” he wrote in an email.

Allcott said InHealth patients can request the transfer of their medical records by emailing inhealthmedrecordsrelease@gmail.com or by fax at (978) 560-0664. Requests should include an attachment with the patient’s name, date of birth, signature, the records being requested or the time period in which the requested records were generated, he said.

b.hallenbeck@theday.com

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