2012-05-25 / Top Stories

Medical Record Problem At PHC

By Howard Schwach

Former patients of the now-shuttered Peninsula Hospital Center might well have problems getting their medical records, federal bankruptcy court records show.

In a May 21 report to the court, Ombudsman Daniel T. McMurray told Judge Elizabeth Stong, “[Health information management] struggles with obtaining timely documentation of care in the hospital’s [incomplete and delinquent] medical records. This was noted during prior patient interviews, review of medical charts and review of care. With the closure of the hospital, this becomes significantly more critical, since completion of records before they are sent to an independent storage and retrieval firm is essential.”

“There is little available information about incomplete records,” he added. “An effort has been undertaken to file all loose patient records material and to insure to the extent possible that all loose [record] material has been located.”

Experts say that former patients have the right by state law to retrieve their records or have them sent to their new health providers.

Many locals pulled their imaging records from the hospital during the first crisis in early summer, but many others say they waited to see the hospital’s fate.

Now, all of the records are in limbo, officials say, until a decision is made on the fate of the hospital center.

Once the hospital is sold, the records will be turned over to a private storage firm, which will reportedly then turn the records over to those former patients that request them, but, it is reported, there will be a cost for the retrieval and shipping of the records.

McMurray’s report raises questions about the completeness of those records, however.

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