Mecklenburg Medical Group files complaint with state medical board against Atrium Health

Alyssa Rege - Print  | 

A group of 92 physicians attempting to separate from Charlotte, N.C.-based Atrium Health filed a complaint with the North Carolina Medical Board April 16, alleging the health system violated board regulations by intentionally misleading patients, according to WFAE 90.7 Radio.

K. Dale Owen, MD, a Mecklenburg Medical Group cardiologist seeking to split with Atrium, told WFAE at least one patient received a letter from Atrium reassigning the patient to a physician planning to stay with the health system.

"There are now examples of them trying to redirect and reassign patients to other primary care doctors without the patient's consent or knowledge, or their current primary care physician's consent or knowledge," Dr. Owen said.

Dr. Owen also claimed Atrium contacted individual physicians from the group asking them to reconsider their decision to split. The health system reportedly offered non-physician staff belonging to Mecklenburg Medical Group — an estimated 500 individuals — a 10 percent bonus if they choose to stay with Atrium, he told WFAE.

The portion of Mecklenburg physicians seeking to split filed a lawsuit against Atrium April 2 to leave and operate as an independent organization called Mecklenburg Multispecialty Group. The lawsuit accused Atrium of engaging in monopolistic and anticompetitive behavior. The health system said the same day the lawsuit was filed it would honor the physicians' desire to leave.

However, Mecklenburg physicians claim Atrium has yet to offer a substantial response to the group's lawsuit.

In a statement to WFAE, Atrium said it is not assigning patients, and that the health system respects patients' decision to choose their physician. Officials said some patients who see multiple physicians may have received a letter listing a physician they do not consider their primary care physician. If patients dispute the claim, Atrium said it provides the appropriate information for the patient's PCP, according to the report.

To access the report, click here.

Editor's note: Becker's Hospital Review reached out to Atrium Health for comment and will update the report as more information becomes available.

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