Dangerous drugs left in the offices of the KE Medical Group that abruptly closed earlier this month — leaving hundreds of patients without health care — have been confiscated by state authorities, according to Doug Cooper, executive director of the Nevada State Medical Board.
Cooper said Monday that the board, which placed two investigators on the abrupt Nov. 8 closure after patients’ complaints surfaced last week, filed a request with a state District Court in Reno for a temporary restraining order that would prevent KE group managers from disposing of health records before patients or physicians can take custody of them.
Attempts to reach Dr. Mark Edelstein were unsuccessful. He is a Beverly Hills, Calif.-based gastroenterologist identified in Secretary of State records as a managing officer of the 10-member group that practiced for more than two years at 8205 W. Warm Springs Road. Edelstein does not practice in Las Vegas.
It appears, Cooper said, “a business decision took priority” over the welfare of patients and the general public.
Cooper said some patients received letters from the group informing them that they could pick up medical records on Nov. 14 and 15 from the Warm Springs offices, and there was such commotion Las Vegas police were called to calm the situation.
To Tracey Brierly, a former Clark County chief deputy district attorney who had to go on disability three years ago because of severe migraine headaches, the closing of the medical group has been “devastating” for two reasons.
She said Dr. Abraham Nagy, a certified headache specialist in Nevada who practiced with the group, seemed to be getting her pain under control with IV treatments. And Dr. Brian Berelowitz, an endocrinologist, was helping her overcome a serious thyroid problem.
“I can’t get in touch with either of them and I don’t have any way to get my medical records so other doctors will know what to do,” she said, adding that she was supposed to have an appointment with Berelowitz on Thursday. “I’m almost out of my medication from him and I don’t know what to do.”
She said she received a letter dated Nov. 8 telling her that Nagy was no longer a part of the medical group. That same letter, she said, also informed her that KE Medical Group was closing on Nov. 8.
“Isn’t that strange?” she said, noting that Nagy broke appointments with her in September and October for no apparent reason.
Because of Nagy’s treatments, Brierly said she went 15 days without headache pain.
“Now all this stress has got me right back to where I was,” Brierly said.
Brierly’s mother, Mildred Brierly, who has been caring for her daughter, said her daughter has been crying and “is now in a state of panic about what to do.”
The investigation has shown, Cooper said, that some staff doctors were “sucker punched,” too, not learning of the closure until soon before it happened.
He said investigators with the state pharmacy board confiscated “controlled substances and other dangerous drugs” after medical board authorities informed them that drugs were left unsupervised at group offices.
Cooper said that the unexpected closure “definitely was harmful to the public.”
“Some of these patients have been treated for years and years by the same physician, well before KE started doing business (and the doctors joined the practice),” he said, adding that patients haven’t been given a way to contact their physicians. “Some of these patients even had appointments scheduled.”
Doctors listed on the group’s website are: Paul Emery, Barry Nahin, John Rhodes, Ethan Cruvant, Berge Dadourian, Sean Ameli, Abraham Nagy, Brian Berelowitz, April Marquardt and Rama Harouni.
The doctors were unavailable for comment.
The website for the medical group reads: “KE Medical Group provides … an experience where your care is world class, your time is valued, your voice is listened to and your healthcare dollar is respected.”