John Holiver, President
St. Elizabeth’s Medical Center
736 Cambridge Street
Brighton, MA 02135
Dear Mr. Holiver,
My wife, A… Kamens, was treated in your emergency room (ER) early in the morning on Sunday, January 17.
The doctor who treated her told her to seek follow-up care with her primary care physician (PCP), Dr. C… L…. He said he would call Dr. L… that day, but my wife should wait until Tuesday to contact her, because by then all the test results would be available in my wife’s electronic record, where Dr. L… would be able to access them.
Not only did the ER doctor not call Dr. L… on Sunday as promised, he never called her at all.
Not only were my wife’s test results not available by Tuesday as promised, they were not available until January 26, nine days after my wife’s ER visit.
According to Dr. L…’s office, St. Elizabeth’s never gave them a straight answer about why the test results were taking so long. Not only that, but they seemed to be giving the office the runaround, repeatedly telling them to call the next day at a specific time and ask to speak to so-and-so, only to be told when they called at that time that so-and-so was not available.
To be blunt, this is pathetic. I’d be surprised if it’s not also a HIPAA violation – failing to give a patient and her providers prompt access to medical records required for urgent care. My wife has been walking around in pain unnecessarily for nine extra days, with her PCP unable to initiate treatment because she did not have access to the test results necessary to diagnose and treat my wife’s condition.
Do you think my wife’s treatment lived up to your mission of “delivering the highest quality care with compassion and respect”?
I’ve got a great idea for an improvement you can make to the billboard across the street from your ER:
What do you think?
Here is what my wife and I need from you now:
- confirmation that you have investigated this incident and confirmed the details I’ve related;
- a written acknowledgment that it is not acceptable that:
- the doctor who treated my wife in the ER never called her PCP as he said he would;
- it took nine days for you to make the results of my wife’s tests available to her PCP; and
- your hospital failed to give honest, accurate information about when the results would be available;
- a written apology to my wife for making her suffer unnecessarily and to Dr. L… for making her and her staff waste their time; and
- a written description of the steps you will be taking to ensure that in the future:
- doctors in the ER follow up promptly with the patient’s PCP when they say they will;
- results of tests performed in the ER are accessible to patients and their PCPs promptly; and
- PCPs are given honest, accurate information about when test results will be available.
My wife has affixed her signature to the bottom of this letter and thereby authorizes you to access her records to investigate this incident, to disclose the contents of those records to me, and to discuss this incident orally and in writing with me, without restriction, as if I were her in the context of HIPAA privacy rules.
|CC:||Dr. C… L…|
|CC:||Appeals and Grievances Department|
|Tufts Health Plan|
|705 Mount Auburn Street|
|Post Office Box 9193|
|Watertown, MA 02471-9193|
|CC:||Division of Health Care Quality|
|Massachusetts Department of Public Health|
|99 Chauncy Street|
|Boston, MA 02111-1212|
|CC:||Office for Civil Rights|
|U.S. Department of Health & Human Services|