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Local Patients Are Sick of Tracking Down Medical Records

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RALEIGH — North Carolina Medical Associates shut down last month leaving 65,000 patients without doctors. NCMA promised to transfer its patients records to their new doctors. A month later, some of them are still waiting.

Karen Rivers waited three weeks for a copy of her daughter's medical records. Friday, she went to the doctor's office looking for them.

Karen and her family used to be patients at Raleigh Family Physicians. They are among thousands of patients who lost their doctors when NCMA filed for bankruptcy after a dispute with MedPartners, their practice management company.

"I got what I absolutely needed, which was her shots," Karen said. "The rest I'll get whenever they give it to me."

The NCMA office has been closed to patients since October 16, but a sign out front promises patients their records will be transferred within two to three weeks, or faster if it is an emergency.

"I did specify that my request was urgent, because I had been in a car accident and I'm still having problems from that," former patient Yvonne Smith said. "I needed the new location to have a history. It's very frustrating, it really is."

Smith was also a patient at Raleigh Family Physicians. She faxed them an urgent request for her medical records a month ago, and her new doctor still has not received them.

"It's just that my records are not there," Smith said. "Ten years of my medical history are not there for him to know what's been going on in my past."

The attorney general's office negotiated a settlement between NCMA and MedPartners that allows the doctors to set up new practices. Some of them have. Others plan to, but some of their patients are still in limbo while they work out the details.

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Stephanie Hawco, Reporter
Gil Hollingsworth, Photographer
Jason Darwin, Web Editor

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