NASHVILLE, TN (WSMV) - There are alarming new claims coming tonight from a former employee of a women's medical center already in trouble with the federal government.
The woman, who says she's a former employee at Tennessee Women's Care P.C., tells Call 4 Action Problem Solver Caresse Jackman that patient charts would get lost all the time.
After seven months of working at Tennessee Women's Care, Kara Alexander says what she witnessed leaves her with this question.
"Why open your doors for your patients if you don't care about them," Alexander said.
Alexander, who said she was laid off because of the pandemic, said she was often concerned about what went missing.
"Patients' charts were getting lost, constantly," Alexander said.
So Alexander said she wasn't shocked when the FDA released a memo about why the center can no longer perform mammograms.
"Their charts would go in a basket...in the mammogram room and they would come in there and place the results in there. Well, charts would pile up in their office, and no results were ever put in. And the patients would keep calling after months and still couldn't get anything," Alexander said. "They just continued to ignore it."
It's alarming for Alicia Landry, who didn't get a mammogram but was a patient for ten years and still hasn't gotten her medical records.
"It's frustrating that something as vital and important as my medical history--is now missing. And nobody seems to care," Landry said.
News4 called Tennessee Women's Care P.C.'s attorney once again, asking for an on-camera interview with the company's CEO Tammy Pearson and the allegations that patients' records went missing and possible mammogram problems. They told us she's not available but issued the following statement:
"I just don't think it's fair to the employees, to the patients. It's not fair to be treated that way, and then to have your private information anywhere in that office, and not know where it's, at you know. That's the worst part. And I don't think that's okay," Alexander said.
News4 also reached out to the State Attorney General's office to see if they received any complaints related to documents and test results. The Department has received two complaints against Tennessee Women's Care since April 2020. Both of those complaints, the AG's office says, are about billing/refund disputes and not about documents/test results. The AG's office also stated that Tennessee Women's Care recently provided them with copies of checks issued for refunds for all complainants with outstanding complaints.
A representative from the U.S. Food & Drug Administration responded to some questions that we had:
1. Does the FDA believe mammograms weren't read correctly at Tennessee Women's Care?
The facility did not comply with certain requirements in the MQSA regulations, nor did they comply with the American College of Radiology’s (ACR) request for images and documentation needed to conduct the Additional Mammography Review requested by FDA. The ACR revoked the facility’s accreditation and the facility no longer has a valid FDA certificate. This does not necessarily mean that the results of any individual mammogram were inaccurate, rather that we do not have enough information to assess whether or not the mammograms were accurate. Therefore, as discussed in the safety communication, patients may need to have their mammograms re-evaluated and possibly repeated.
2. Should women be concerned if they think they weren't safe getting the mammogram at Tennessee Women's Care? Does the FDA recommend patients get another scan for breast cancer at another facility?
As stated in the safety communication, the MQSA inspection indicated that required quality control tests were not performed during a specific period of time. Quality control testing involves assessment of the equipment used to perform mammography. Without completion of these quality control tests, we are not able to determine whether the equipment used to perform mammography was operating correctly. This puts patients at risk of faulty mammograms. In general, if image quality is inadequate, risks can include unfavorable patient outcomes such as delayed cancer detection due to false negatives or costly and stressful follow-up or overtreatment due to false positives. Patients who have not had a mammogram at another MQSA-certified facility on or after November 1, 2019 should consider asking for their mammogram and copies of their medical reports from Tennessee Women’s Care, P.C., and have their mammogram reviewed at another MQSA-certified facility to decide if a repeat mammogram or more medical follow-up is needed. A database of facilities can be found online, or patients can call the National Cancer Institute's information telephone number at 1-800-422-6237 to find a MQSA-certified facility in your area.
If you're a former patient still waiting for your records, please reach out to News4. We want to hear from you. To contact News 4, click here.