Headaches abound as former patients at shuttered Seattle Pain Center try to access records
SEATTLE – The fallout continues for the Seattle Pain Center.
All of its branches shut down after the centers were accused of over-prescribing patients, possibly contributing to the deaths of at least 18 people.
And for at least one former patient, the pain and confusion keeps mounting.
“I am chasing my tail,” Theresa Biaggi said. “I feel for all the patients of Seattle Pain Centers. It breaks my heart.”
All eight branches of Seattle Pain Center from Seattle to Spokane shut down after the state suspended its director Dr. Frank Li. The medical commission says Dr. Li operated the centers like a pill mill.
Biaggi says she never met Dr. Li but she believes other doctors at Seattle Pain Center tried to over prescribe methadone for her spinal pain.
“My only hope was methadone, "Biaggi said. "That’s not an option that’s a death sentence.”
Biaggi says she chose to get on alternative medicine and years ago. Now she has a spinal implant to regulate the pain. All important details she needs now for a new doctor to help her.
But there's a problem. She can't access her old records from the Seattle Pain Center.
“I can’t be the only one worried about my medical record,” Biaggi said.
She recently mailed a medical release form seeking seven years of medical records. She received no reply. On Monday, Q13 News tried to get to the bottom of it.
Although the centers are shut down we were able to reach a person on the line solely there to deal with medical records. Turns out Biaggi mailed the release form to the wrong address, they say.
Seattle Pain Center says the quickest way to get your medical history is to email firstname.lastname@example.org. You have to email a completed medical release form that can be downloaded at www.seattlepaincenters.com
If emailed you can expect your records in 2 business days if you fax the form you can expect your document in 4-to-5 business days. The fax number is 206-805-8886.
Seattle Pain Center is processing 80 records everyday with thousands of patients affected.
They are providing year long records for free but anything more patients will be charged for copies. Biaggi said she was relieved to find out how to obtain her records, but was also upset to hear she had to pay for most of her medical history.
An attorney for Dr. Frank Li had no comment about the case, but Li has yet to file anything with the state fighting his suspension.
As he remains under suspension more than 50 medical professionals including doctors and nurses linked to Li remain under investigation by the Department of Health.
The Department of Labor and Industries says they suspended 15 medical professionals who worked with Dr. Li on August 15.
Following a suspension with L&I the department says providers are not allowed to treat injured workers receiving workers' compensation benefits.