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Aiken family practice closes leaving patients without answers

Dr. James Bland

Patients in Aiken County were confused when their primary care doctor, James Bland, seemed to vanish out of thin air. (WRDW-TV / Aug. 19, 2011)

News 12 at 6 o'clock / Aug. 19, 2011

AIKEN, S.C. -- For weeks now patients of an Aiken family practice have been wondering -- what happened to their doctor?

The practice mysteriously closed at the end of July and patients haven't heard anything since.

Prescriptions are running out and people are wondering what to do next.

We are telling you what's going on and what to do if it ever happens to you.

It all comes down to who owns the practice, and in this case it is not the physician Dr. James Bland.

"Give us a clue, what happened Dr. Bland?" said Eugene Thomas whose mother-in-law goes to Dr. Bland.

The only clue for most of Dr. Bland's patients is a notice on the door saying the office is temporarily closed while it undergoes management changes.

"We're all concerned about what is going on here, we don't know if Dr. Bland is coming back, I am concerned because he has been my doctor and friend for more than 20 years," said Lenny who is Dr. Bland's patient.

And Lenny's concern is shared by many of Dr. Blands' patients.

"This is the first time something like this has ever happened, I'm very concerned that it might be a family illness or something, we don't know," Lenny said.

One of Bland's family members called News 12 today to say everyone is all right.

The practice was closed by the owner, Augusta Primary Care Services.

Dr. Bland will be out of town until a new owner is finalized.

So the big question is -- what will his patients do now?

"I am not one of his patients, my mother-in-law is, she needs her prescriptions refilled, she needs an appointment with Dr. Bland," Thomas said.

So why not just go to a different doctor? It's all about the medical records.

"The answer we are getting from other physicians in the area -- know what is going on, and they say go get your medical records. How do you go about getting your medical records when the doors are closed?" asked Lenny.

And until the practice has new management, you have to get those records from Augusta Primary Care Services, not Dr. Bland.

Dr. Bland is more than ready to come back and people are working to get the practice back open. They hope that will be early September.

In the meantime, to get your medical records when you go to another doctor, complete a medical record consent form and fax it to Aiken Augusta Primary Care at (706) 798-8829.

So if something like this happens to you -- remember to contact the actual owner of the practice for a copy of your medical records.


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