YUBA COUNTY: State to Investigate Missing Medical Charts
Hundreds of Yuba County residents are without medical records, forcing the California Medical Board and state Department of Health to investigate, the Sacramento Bee reports. The missing medical documentation, belonging mostly to Medi-Cal recipients, was transferred to Peach Tree Clinic after the Sacramento Family Medical Center closed in 1997. Rachel Farrell -- a physician assistant who formerly worked for Sacramento Medical but now oversees Harmony Health -- said she began to have trouble obtaining patients' records from Peach Tree eight to 10 months ago. Of the 54 charts Farrell has requested, she received only 21. Of those, just 11 "contained medical information about services performed at Sacramento Family Medical Center," while the other 10 "included information on care provided at Peach Tree." She added that repeated exams and immunizations are likely, costing the state thousands of dollars. Harmony Health supervising physician Dr. Roger Hicks filed a complaint last month with the state medical board, calling the situation "outrageous." And according to former Peach Tree employee Sherri VanSant, her supervisor told her "the charts had been destroyed and to tell anyone requesting them that they could not be found." But Gail Frandsen, spokesperson for the Fremont-Rideout Health Group, Peach Tree's managing company, said, "The records [Farrell] has requested are there," but noted that "it takes time to find them in storage." In response to the allegations that patients' charts were destroyed, Peach Tree manager Scott McFarland wrote in a letter to Farrell that "while several records were destroyed, none was destroyed in violation of state law." State regulations require that providers maintain children's records until the child reaches age 19 and adult records for seven years after service. He added that "many of the Sacramento Clinic records were not transferred to the Peach Tree Clinic at the time of its closure." Sacramento Medical was serving roughly 1,900 patients when it closed its doors (Griffith, 3/15).This is part of the California Healthline Daily Edition, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.