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BronxDocs clinics that closed before Christmas to reopen in late January under new name

by John R. Fischer, Senior Reporter | January 03, 2024
Business Affairs Primary Care
BronxDocs Medical Center
Five days before Christmas, three BronxDocs Medical Centers temporarily shut down, leaving the 90 doctors and healthcare and administrative workers employed there without jobs for at least the next month.

Health insurer EmblemHealth co-ran the multispecialty health clinics for the last five years with an outside management company, which oversaw staffing for BronxDocs. In an online notice, EmblemHealth said the contract with the company has ended, resulting in the temporary closures, but that it plans to reopen them as part of a new partnership with AdvantageCare Physicians (ACPNY), its in-house medical group, which has medical offices in all five boroughs and on Long Island. Together, the two will reopen the clinics on January 22 under the brand AdvantageCare Bronx, offering in-network specialty services such as cardiology and gastroenterology alongside primary care.

A spokesperson for EmblemHealth told HCB News that it has several open positions that it has encouraged former BronxDocs care providers and non-provider staff to apply for at all three sites and that it has already employed providers and is continuing to contract with others.

"Staff at nearby AdvantageCare locations are working with New Yorkers to reschedule appointments, schedule care at nearby sites, and telehealth consultations and ensure their prescriptions can be refilled. About 1,200 patients had appointments scheduled within the closure timeframe and ACPNY has engaged with them to meet their needs," they said, adding that patients have also been referred to other ACPNY offices in the city.

While EmblemHealth maintains that the contract with the management company ended, Dr. Seeam Haque, who worked at BronxDocs for three years prior to the layoffs, says the company was notified in late November that the contract was being terminated, forcing it to let go of providers and non-provider staff in all three locations. EmblemHealth refutes this.

Haque says the closures risk leaving thousands of patients without access to doctors and medical staff for almost one month, exposing them to potential health risks, especially those with limited mobility and unable to afford transport to travel to other care sites.

“As doctors, we didn’t know what to tell our patients who were very concerned about how we could continue taking care of them. Several got texts saying their appointments were canceled after December 20 and patients could be rescheduled after January 22. Some of my patients with serious medical conditions are very worried,” he told HCB News.

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