Attorney general's office helping former InHealth patients seeking records

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The state Office of the Attorney General is helping people get their medical records from InHealth Connecticut, the Willimantic-based health care company that recently closed doctors' offices in Mystic, Norwich and Willimantic.

“We are trying to ensure that they (InHealth) comply with state and federal laws pertaining to patient access to medical records,” Elizabeth Benton, the office’s director of communications, wrote Friday in an email.

She indicated the office has not opened an investigation into InHealth.

“We have been contacted by three constituents. Since our involvement, two have received their requested records,” Benton wrote, adding that people needing help can contact the attorney general’s office via its website at bit.ly/CTAGcomplaint, or by calling its Consumer Assistance Unit at (860) 808-5420.

Numerous InHealth patients have contacted The Day — some as recently as Friday — to report that InHealth has failed to respond to their repeated requests for copies of their records. In some cases, the lack of response has complicated patients’ ability to transfer their care to new physicians.

Former InHealth clients also have reported filing complaints with the state Department of Public Health. One former patient of a doctor at InHealth’s Norwich location said she had contacted the office of U.S. Rep. Joe Courtney, D-2nd District, and state Sen. Cathy Osten, D-Sprague.

The former InHealth patient, Nancy Depietro of Norwich, said one member of her family has gotten requested records while she and two others have not.

Attempts to reach David Allcott, InHealth’s chief executive officer, have been unsuccessful.

Geoffrey Burnham, a physician’s assistant who worked at InHealth’s Seaport Medical location in Mystic, said he has heard “nothing but fallout” since the office’s April closing.

“Patients are exasperated,” he said. “Despite following instructions, they have failed to get their records. ... Patients with outstanding medical problems have been left by the wayside.”

Burnham said he and Dr. Edmund West, the physician who headed InHealth’s Mystic office, currently are going through a “credentialing process” before returning to work with new practices. He said West expects to join Hartford HealthCare's new facility in Pawcatuck, which is scheduled to open in late summer, while he plans to go with a Northeast Medical Group practice in Groton, part of the Yale New Haven Health System.

In a statement, Hartford HealthCare spokesman Shawn Mawhiney said Hartford HealthCare was aware of the InHealth closings and was helping displaced patients find alternative care.

"This includes directing patients to our GoHealth urgent care clinics and our primary care practices, and working to help patients as best we can to obtain their medical records," he said.

b.hallenbeck@theday.com

Editor's Note: This version corrects the spelling of Geoffrey Burnham's first name and the phone number for the Consumer Assistance Unit.

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