A judge’s ruling will allow an Aspen eye doctor to retrieve medical records and charts for his estimated 8,000 patients.
Pitkin County Judge Daniel B. Petre’s order, issued Wednesday, gives Dr. Timothy J. Bauer access to the medical records that had been withheld from him by Amedco Colorado, which along with American Optical Services bought Bauer’s Aspen and Carbondale practices as part of a stock-purchase agreement in August 2013.
Bauer, who has practiced in the Roaring Fork Valley since 1995, said Thursday he was at his shuttered office in downtown Aspen collecting all of his patients’ data.
“I’ve spent three hours boxing records, and I have a computer guy pulling all of my records,” he said.
Bauer said that his first order of business is to provide his patients with their optometric needs, including eyeglasses and contacts.
The judge’s ruling comes after Bauer filed for a temporary restraining order against Amedco and his landlord, Vectra Bank Colorado, on July 11. Bauer had contended that on June 20, Amedco informed him that he had been terminated, his Aspen and Carbondale offices would be closed and all of his patients would be referred to competitors. Vectra also had denied Bauer’s access to the records.
Also on June 20, Amedco sought bankruptcy protection in Delaware.
“As a result, Bauer maintains that his patients are not being served, employees are leaving, patient appointments have been canceled and the goodwill he built over 19 years of practice is being dissipated,” Petre wrote.
The judge added that “Bauer has demonstrated that he faces a real, immediate and irreparable harm if not afforded access to the records. The vacuum created by the closure of the offices will result in patients turning elsewhere for their optometric needs. That harm will be exacerbated when Amedco actively solicits Bauer’s competitors in the area to assume care of some or all of these patients and turns the medical records over to those new providers.” Petre also said that Bauer’s patients, “especially those with emergency eye problems,” should “be afforded access to medical care, especially those with emergency eye problems, especially from someone with whom the patient has an ongoing professional relationship.”
Bauer said his next step is to try to get the old business back under his ownership. He said he sold his practice so he could spend more time with his family and slow down with his professional life. But with the recent developments, Bauer said it appears he’ll have to abandon those plans.