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Medical Records Could be the Prescription for Thousands Sick of Waiting

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RALEIGH — Thousands of patients whose doctors went bankrupt in October are still waiting to get copies of their medical records. Now, theAttorney General's officeis stepping in to help speed up the process.

Karen Rivers filed a request in October for her childrens' medical records. Two months later, they still haven't been transferred to their new doctors office.

When her 5-year-old son got hurt at a playground, his new doctor couldn't tell which tetanus shot the child needed.

"I had to go to the baby book and find his pre-school record," Rivers says. "After organizing my room to find it, thank goodness the shot record was on his pre-school record."

Rivers and her family were patients at Raleigh Family Physicians. They're among thousands of patients who lost their doctors when North Carolina Medical Associates shut down its clinics after a dispute with MedPartners, their practice management company.

Those patients may soon get help from the Attorney General's office.

Special Deputy Attorney General Alan Hirsch describes the problem. "There are thousands of patients that are seeing other doctors, or MedPartners' old doctors who haven't yet set up practices. [Those people] simply can't get their records. It's taking too long and we've told Med Partners those records need to be delivered now," Hirsch says.

MedPartners does have employees working in the doctor's former offices, copying and transferring patient records. But the Attorney General's office told them this week they aren't working fast enough.

They've put MedPartners on notice that they need to deliver on their promise to give patients their medical records.

The attorney general's office says they expect "substantial progress" from MedPartners by next week. MedPartners has also agreed to turn over patient records to doctors who left and have set up new practices.

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Stephanie Hawco, Reporter
Joe Frieda, Photographer
Julie Moos, Web Editor

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