Eight Illinois physicians could be forced to stop practicing medicine as early as Wednesday if they do not make arrangements to transfer patient records from their defunct practice to the patients' new physicians, state regulators say.
The Illinois Department of Professional Regulation on Jan. 29 suspended the licenses of MichaelDeStefano, M.D., Win Myint, M.D., William Devlin McCarthy, M.D., Deborah Basile, M.D., Nicolas Stamat, M.D., Jerry Coltro, M.D., Mohammad Imandoust, M.D., and Virendra Mathur, M.D. for an alleged records snafu.
However, state officials stayed the suspension for one week to give the physicians time to transfer tens of thousands of paper charts.
Mary Blanks, M.D., chief medical coordinator for the licensing agency, says in an affidavit filed Jan. 29 that to allow the physicians to continue to practice medicine in the state "presents an immediate danger to the safety of the public" because the inability to access records already has delayed treatment for an unspecified number of patients.
The physicians all practiced at Meyer Medical Physician Group, which had offices in the Chicago suburbs of Merrionette Park, Elk Grove Village and Hoffman Estates, Ill., before the practice shut down last September after 89 years in business. Meyer Medical had sought Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection last May, but was unable to reorganize.
According to published reports, the practice left 130,000 patient records in a warehouse in Merrionnette Park and an additional 98,000 charts at the Hoffman Estates location.
The Illinois Department of Professional Regulation says the physicians failed to make proper arrangements to transfer medical records to their patients' new doctors. The state says a records handling company, Cardone Record Services, took possession of the files but stopped copying the records for new practices because Meyer Medical was $22,000 behind on payments.
The department says it has received several hundred complaints from affected patients.
Tony Sanders, spokesperson for the regulatory department, says that Alexian Brothers Hospital Network, which owns the Hoffman Estates property, has taken over records management there. "Merrionette Park is where the trouble was," Sanders says.
DeStefano, former president of the Meyer group, was seeing patients Monday at another practice, DeStefano and Stamat Pediatric Associates, Merrionette Park, and was not immediately available for comment, a staffer says.