REVEALED: Administrators explain $77 fee for medical records
GLADSTONE Valley and Calliope Medical Centre patients are coughing up cash for the administration of two recently closed general practice services.
In a statement provided to The Observer, administrators Worrells Solvency and Forensic Accountants explained why it is charging patients $77 to have their medical records transferred to new healthcare providers following the closures of the two long-term centres.
Worrells' director Dane Hammond said there was a lack of funds available in the administration, due to both centres struggling financially.
The company said, "for the administration to receive a partial recoupment of the significant costs involved in dealing with the release of records, patients are being asked to pay the $77 fee".
"This fee is to contribute to the time involved in dealing with the request for records; ensuring appropriate consent has been obtained from the patient; accessing those records from the company's standalone computer servers; downloading the applicable files; and ultimately transitioning those files to the new medical practitioner," Mr Hammond said.
"We understand that people need access to their patient files, and that this is a concerning time for patients to find alternative medical practitioners. We must ensure that this transition is not compounded with incorrect information being made available."
Worrells said the medical centres were not profitable, due to the difficulties of attracting and retaining qualified medical practitioners to the region.
The voluntary administration impacts numerous stakeholders including the suppliers, landlords of each medical centre, patients and the broader community.
Worrells' patients request a copy of their records via their new healthcare providers, not directly to the administrators.
"There are potentially aspects of a patient file that the patient cannot be given access to and this involves some medical assessment of the file," the company said.
"Worrells' partners and staff are not qualified to make that assessment and accordingly it is prudent that Worrells do not release the files directly to the patient."
The company said the purpose of the voluntary administration was to "bring about the best possible outcome" for the Calliope and Gladstone Valley Medical Centre's stakeholders.