LUFKIN, TX (KTRE) - By Morgan Thomas - email
LUFKIN, TX (KTRE) - A day after the arrest of a Lufkin doctor on federal fraud charges, patients are scrambling to find doctors in the area that will take on new patients.
Tonia Hollande, of Port Aransas, who is visiting her parents in Lufkin, said she had to come to the Urgent Care clinic to see if it really was closed. She said her parents were patients at the clinic.
"They're worried they're not going to be able to find a doctor that soon for blood pressure and heart medications," Hollande said. "They have to have it. They have to have blood pressure and heart medications everyday. All day long."
Federal authorities executed a search warrant on the clinic Wednesday. They also arrested the owner, Dr. Alexander Orlov and his assistant, Rasheed Rheman, on health care fraud charges.
Orlov is expected to make a federal court appearance in Beaumont this afternoon.
Diane Sturgis, of Lufkin, said she had been a patient at the clinic for three years.
"When I heard, I thought, 'Oh my god, I had an appointment today to renew my prescriptions,'" Sturgis said.
With a day's-worth of medication left, Sturgis immediately started searching for another doctor.
"I just got out the yellow pages and called every doctor in the book. They said they weren't taking any patients. Some of them asked if I was a patient of Orlov's and they would just hang up on me."
Registered nurse PJ Chavez has been a patient of Orlov's for 10 years. She came by the office at lunchtime, for a scheduled appointment.
"I didn't think it was fair to us that nobody informed any of the patients and not even have a stand-in doctor," Chavez said.
Chavez says she heard Orlov was under investigation. She hopes he's cleared of any wrongdoing.
"I think if there are some unethical issues that he does need to be reprimanded," Chavez said. "He does need to have to his licence revoked and suspended."
Representatives of two Lufkin doctor's offices said they had been flooded Thursday with calls from patients of the clinic, asking for appointments. Two others had no comment on the matter.
A person of the Angelina County and Cities Health District said they could not comment on the matter and that Director Sharon Shaw, who is out of the office until Monday, was the only person allowed to talk to media. The person did say they had received many calls about what to do to get prescriptions filled and they had given them a list of doctors who accept Medicare.