Landmark Collaborative Health clinic shuts its doors, surprising staff and patients

Landmark Collaborative Health, a multi-disciplinary semi-private health clinic, abruptly shut its doors Sept. 12, without notifying physicians or patients in advance.

Physicians and other practitioners retrieved patient medical records

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

The Landmark Collaborative Health Clinic on Veterans Way closed with no notice Sept. 11, in a move that caught staff and patients — and the College of Physicians and Surgeons of Alberta — by surprise.

"With a heavy heart, we regret to inform you that Landmark Collaborative Health will be closing permanently. Sept. 11, 2017 is our last operational day," said an email sent to clients the following day.

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

'When physicians arrived for work on Tuesday, 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)

The email added that health records would be securely maintained, as per Alberta Medical Association guidelines, and available upon request.

Staff were advised in the email they would be paid Sept. 15 and any accrued vacation would be paid in full.

The clinic combined family doctors, general practitioners and a nursing staff with a suite of services, including massage therapy, psychology, physiotherapy, yoga therapy, and other services.

Not physician-owned

While it was unusual for the clinic to shut down with no advance notice, it didn't break any laws or provincial guidelines, said Kelly Eby, the director of communications for the Alberta College of Physicians and Surgeons.

"The Landmark Clinic is not physician-owned, so our ability to influence the situation is pretty limited," said Eby.

"What we've heard is that when physicians arrived for work on Tuesday, the doors were shut and [there was] a note saying they wouldn't be reopened."

Mike Horne is a massage therapist who has clients through the Landmark Collaborative Health Clinic, which unexpectedly shut its doors Sept. 11. (Jennifer Lee/CBC)

While physicians — there were four at Landmark — are usually responsible for advising patients if they're leaving or closing a medical practice, that wasn't possible at Landmark.

"Because the closing of the clinic is not under the physicians control, they are not able to advise their patients, they are not able to give them any heads up," she said.

"They are not able do all the things we would expect them to do in a situation if they were making the choice to either close or leave a medical practice."

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.

Medical records retained

Eby said that while the situation was unusual, there was no risk that patients might be unable to retrieve their medical records.

"If those patients need to seek care elsewhere — primary or emergency — their records should be on Netcare, so ... it shouldn't be an issue for other physicians — with patient permission — to be able to access their personal health record," Eby said.

Of the four physicians who worked for Landmark, three have announced alternate locations where patients can reach them.

Mike Horne, a massage therapist and team lead at the clinic, learned Sept. 12 that the clinic had closed.

"I had just received a couple text messages from a couple of my massage therapists that were curious as to what was happening, because they were getting contacted by clients who had also received the email about the closure."

Horne said the sudden closure was jarring, for both employees and customers.

"It's baffling to myself to not really have notice, or to have some sort of strategy ... to notify people prior to [closing]," he said.

"I guess it was a decision that was made and not one that everybody was aware of."

'Our team was very interconnected'

Horne said the shock of the closure was compounded by the fact that the staff were a close-knit bunch.

"Our team was very interconnected and very supportive of everyone and all the patients. I think my biggest concern is just ensuring continuity of care of the patients — and ensuring that all of that is going to be moving forward."

With files from Jennifer Lee and Andrew Brown