Major medical group abruptly closes

50,000 patients left without direct access to physicians

SPRINGFIELD, Mass. (WWLP) – A major medical group closed its doors, limiting medical care for thousands of western Massachusetts patients. “What? Why didn’t I know about this,” said Brenda Lopez of Springfield, recalling when she learned Hampden County Physician Associates shut down Friday.

22News visited H.C.P.A’s central office on Birnie Avenue in Springfield, where we found tape over the sign showing their location in the multi-unit building, and their door, locked. “I was at the lab Friday, and no one said or hinted at anything,” Lopez said. “So it was very unexpected for me and I was taken back.”

H.C.P.A serves some 50,000 patients at 14 western Massachusetts locations. They filed for bankruptcy October 2nd, and posted notice of closure on their website. If you’ve been trying to reach them, you may be out of luck. If you call H.C.P.A’s main phone line, you’ll get a looped message.

That’s why you need to call your physicians direct line. That will get you to an answering service. “We’ve taken 4,070 calls. You’re getting your elderly people, which I think is the worst part. I’ve got a lot of elderly people wondering, where’s my doctor what am I going to do,” said Linda Bristol, the answering service operations manager.

The answering service can put you in touch with your physician for questions or prescription refills. “I think it’s a very difficult situation over there for the doctors, for the staff and for the patients,” said Dr. Ira Helfand, a physician with Family Care Medical Center in Springfield.

If you need urgent care, you’re advised to go to the E.R., or a private care clinic. “We can look via the information with our local pharmacies and see which patients are taking what medications may have been discontinued,” said Dr. Brian Sutton, a physician with Noble Express Care in Westfield.

Hampden County Physician Associates have a bankruptcy hearing in Springfield Tuesday. However, the group’s answering service told 22News they were already told all H.C.P.A locations are expected to reopen Wednesday. We’ll keep you updated with the latest information as soon as it becomes available, both on air, and online.

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