Investigation needed into sudden closure of private health clinic in Calgary, says legal expert

The sudden closure of a private health clinic in the city should be closely examined by the province, says an expert in health law at the University of Calgary.

Landmark Collaborative Health closed suddenly on Sept. 12 with no advance notice

Landmark Collaborative Health, a Calgary semi-private medical centre, closed its doors Sept. 11 without notifying employees or patients. (Andrew Brown/CBC)

The sudden closure of a private health clinic in the city should be closely examined by the province, says an expert in health law at the University of Calgary. 

Landmark Collaborative Health closed down overnight last week and doctors were initially unable to access patients' medical records or get in touch with them.

Lorian Hardcastle, an assistant professor of health law at the U of C, said the doctor-patient relationship hinges on trust, which can be shaken in a situation like this.

"All of a sudden the clinic is closed and they can't reach their doctor," she said.

"I think… even if no physical harm came to any of the patients, I think certainly some of them, probably their trust in their doctor was shaken by this incident."

News of the closure came Sept. 11, when an email was sent to clients saying the clinic would be shut down, effective the next day.

"The economic conditions and the slower recovery in Calgary's economy has made it unable for Landmark to continue operations," it read.

A note was also posted to the front door.

'When physicians arrived for work on Sept. 12, the doors were shut and [there was] a note saying they wouldn’t be reopened,' said College of Physicians and Surgeons spokesperson Kelly Eby. (Andrew Brown/CBC)

Doctors are normally required by the Alberta College of Physicians and Surgeons to give patients advance notice when they leave or close a practice, but that wasn't possible in this case as the clinic was not physician-owned.

A corporate record search lists the directors of Landmark Collaborative Health Ltd. as Christopher Borowski, Dirk Brown, and Jessica Stein.

The company has not responded to CBC's requests for an interview.

Hardcastle said situations like this one become particularly concerning as more and more private clinics pop up.

The Alberta College of Physicians and Surgeons said it will be educating doctors about the need to have written agreements in place so they can access medical records in the event of a sudden closure

Hardcastle said Alberta Health should also investigate.

"I think this should be something they should look into, and I think they should reinforce what the college has said about doctors being cautious about entering into these kinds of relationships with private clinic owners," Hardcastle said.

An Alberta Health spokesperson says they will be in touch with the College to discuss the situation.

With files from Jennifer Lee