A private Calgary clinic that offered family health care and other professional services has shut down unexpectedly and now patients who paid to belong have been left in limbo.
Patients of Landmark Collaborative Health put up several thousand dollars a year for services at the facility and that gave them access to a family doctor and other medical services.
Staff at the facility were told last Tuesday not to come to work as the clinic was closing because the slow economy has made it unable for the company to continue operations.
Several hundred patients received an email saying the same thing and they were only given an email address to contact to get their medical records.
The clinic is now closed and the website says it is ‘offline’ and patients who paid the annual fee are now wondering whether they will be able to recoup their losses.
One client says she paid the clinic $7000 just three weeks ago to renew her family's membership.
“It's really leaving us short changed for the next year or two in any secondary health care that we may require or we would like to investigate so, yep, it's left a big hole in our pockets,” said Catherine Chalack.
CTV Calgary’s Consumer Specialist Lea Williams-Doherty tried to contact Landmark’s founder and president, Jesse Stein, for comment but did not receive a response.
Alberta's College of Physicians and Surgeons told Lea that it has little jurisdiction over clinics that aren’t owned by licensed, medical professionals and that it can only ensure that doctors provide patients with their medical records.
“So in this case, because they were locked out, they didn’t have access so we’re working with them to help them understand that it is one of their responsibilities and we’re working with the clinic ownership to get that access,” said Kelly Eby, from the College of Physicians & Surgeons of Alberta.
Friends of Medicare say this is exactly the reason why health care privatization is dangerous.
“These private, boutique, concierge clinics are intentionally in the grey area so that they are outside of government regulation so that neither patients nor employees are protected and this is what we see as a result,” said Sandra Azocar, Director of Friends of Medicare.
Since the closure, some doctors have emailed their patients directly telling them that they have their medical records and that they can continue to receive care at their doctor’s new locations.
(With files from Lea Williams-Doherty)