A former patient of a Richland OB/GYN who was disciplined by the state and faces multiple lawsuits said trying to get her medical records so she can see another doctor has been an exercise in frustration.
Kari McDonald of Othello has written letters, sent emails and made phone calls, but said she still doesn’t have the records from Dr. Alexander M. Ortolano, who has shut down his practice and left the state.
“It’s been like pulling teeth,” McDonald said.
Some other former Ortolano patients also reportedly had the same problem.
Kristi McKennon, a Kennewick attorney handling several of the lawsuits pending against Ortolano, said multiple patients who aren’t involved in the legal proceedings have called her for advice because of trouble getting their records.
The state Medical Quality Assurance Commission, which handles physician licensure and discipline, has heard from four or five patients who similarly struggled.
There are steps the patients can take.
Christopher Mertens, the Kennewick attorney representing Ortolano, said former patients should write to the doctor at P.O. Box 925, Richland, WA 99352 to request their records.
Mertens said logistics have been challenging, with the practice closed and Ortolano no longer in the area, but that Ortolano and those working with him are committed to getting patients and their new doctors the records.
Mertens hasn’t heard from many former patients who’ve had trouble getting their records, he said. He did hear from McDonald, but thought her issue was resolved — he said he’ll follow up.
Ortolano owned Arbor Healthcare for Women in Richland.
Last year, his medical license was suspended amid allegations of performing unnecessary procedures, providing substandard care and other issues.
The suspension ultimately was lifted, with Ortolano able to practice medicine provided he meets numerous conditions, from completing clinical competence and professional assessments to being supported by a second opinion for surgeries.
He’s subject to four years of oversight by the Medical Quality Assurance Commission.
Ortolano closed his practice in mid-January, reportedly over insurance reimbursement issues.
“I want to personally thank each and every one of (you) for your continued support throughout the years,” said a post on the practice’s Facebook page announcing the closure.
Ortolano is named in more than a dozen medical negligence lawsuits pending in Benton County Superior Court. The first is set to go to trial next May.