Frustrated patients say Palomar Health Medical Group is ‘dead right now’ – NBC 7 San Diego

Brigitte Carlson closely followed her son’s baseball practice while also feeling frustrated when Palomar Health Medical Group turned her away when she showed up for her doctor’s appointment at a women’s clinic in Escondido.

“There was a second receptionist at the desk who said, ‘I understand that because we are not providing adequate patient care,’ and I said, ‘You’re right. You are not. You absolutely are not,'” Carlson said.

She sent a letter to the doctors’ group’s general counsel urging him that the group should do a better job of providing its patients with the care they need, regardless of what happens with the group’s cybersecurity. She said she did not write the letter solely on her behalf.

“I think a lot of women are working and have kids, and they don’t have time to drive back and forth to get an appointment that then gets canceled,” she told NBC 7.

Thomas Weir, meanwhile, described the hassle of driving 35 miles each way from Warner Springs for him and his wife to attend to their medical needs. He said changing doctors seemed impossible, as his wife recently learned.

He told NBC 7 that she requested her medical records because she was in the process of changing doctors, but that the process was encountering some difficulties.

“‘We can’t do that. We can’t give you your records.’ ‘Why not?’ ‘Because they’re all computerized,'” Weir said, describing his wife’s experience.

In an email to Palomar Health Medical Group, NBC 7 asked, among other things, how long the systems were expected to be down and whether patients could currently access their medical records. NBC 7 also published the letter Carlson sent to his general counsel, and the only response the station received was an email saying, “We have no news.”

In statements to NBC 7 Responds over a month ago, the medical group said outside specialists were looking into suspicious activity on its computer system and that it remained committed to caring for its patients while it worked diligently to resolve the issue. Patients said they have not received much more than that since then.

“You have to be responsive to your customers, clients, patients, and that is especially true in the medical profession,” Carlson said.

She said the lack of communication only increases her frustration and prevents her from fully enjoying a simple baseball practice.

A patient sent NBC 7 Responds a letter he received from Palomar Medical Health Group on May 21, 2024. It said the group continues to provide lab results, x-ray reports, specialist referrals and patient messages via secure inbound fax. It also said doctors have limited access to medical records through the use of temporary programs.

For clarity, the Palomar Health District was not impacted in any way by this cybersecurity incident. It only affected the Palomar Health Medical Group.