Accountants Ken Gadicke and Rick Minichiello say they established Osprey Medical Clinic to respond to a community need.
“We kept hearing that one of the challenges of recruiting doctors was the lack of clinic space,” Gadicke, an active member of Creston’s last economic development initiative, said on Monday. “There was no room at Family Practice or other clinics and most doctors don’t want to set up on their own.
“We saw Osprey first and foremost as a community development opportunity, and if it made a little profit eventually, that would be great.”
The clinic was closed in January, leaving an estimated 3,000 patients concerned that they were losing access to their doctors. Drs. Raphael Elemuo, Suzanne Hopkins and Tara Guthrie are now temporarily working out of the Family Practice Associates clinic. Despite rumours to the contrary, doctors have never been denied access to patient records.
“The doctors claim we behaved badly, we think they behaved badly,” Gadicke said. “That’s the nature of any dispute and that will have to be sorted out in time.
“We know that patients and the community as a whole are very concerned, as are we, that proper medical care be available in Creston. Recently we were contacted by some former patients of Osprey Medical Clinic and one suggested that a mediator be appointed from the Ministry of Health to help resolve the dispute. We welcome that idea. We are as concerned as any other resident of the Creston Valley that we attract and retain quality professionals of all disciplines.”
He acknowledged that there has been much behind the scenes work to ensure the doctors are able to continue providing patient care.
“Our community leaders are working to assist in this and we applaud and encourage their efforts,” Gadicke said. “We truly hope that their efforts are successful and in the meantime people can rest assured that all medical records of Osprey Medical Clinic are securely stored and accessible on a server approved by the government of B.C. and the B.C. medical profession.”
Patient records, according to the College of Physicians and Surgeons of BC, are the legal property of the doctors, but patients are entitled to copies in a reasonable time frame — usually 30 days — and cost. Osprey Medical Clinic, like Family Practice, pays to have a private company keep the electronic files in a secure storage system that can be accessed only by authorized medical personnel.
Gadicke said he and Minichiello continue to pay the monthly fees to the file storage firm and to keep the clinic’s phone line functional to ensure patient files are available to the physicians.
“We urge all of the patients of the Osprey Medical Clinic to contact their doctors,” Gadicke said. “Phone them, visit them, stop them in the street, buy them flowers, chocolates or whatever is your best way of saying, ‘We love you, we want you, we need you. Please stay in Creston and continue to provide the caring attention you have given us to date.’ Hug your doctor.”