Patients of Lags Medical Center left scrambling after offices abruptly close

FRESNO, Calif. (KFSN) -- Hundreds of patients of a pain management center are scrambling to find a new place for care after their doctor's office closed with little notice.

Lags Medical Center shut its doors abruptly last week, leaving many patients without a way to get their prescriptions.

"If I don't get this medication, I get really sick," said Joe Stephenson, who has been a patient at Lags Medical Center for more than a year.

On Monday, he visited the location on Shields Avenue near First Street, trying to get ahold of someone in hopes of being referred to a new pain management doctor.

But Stephenson found no one. The doors were locked and signs posted outside said the office was temporarily closed.

Several patients told Action News they received a text saying Lags Medical Centers would be closing "due to unforeseen circumstances" and they should check in with their primary care doctor as soon as possible.

Stephenson, along with many other local patients, are now left trying to figure out how they're going to get the medication they need.

"I'm having a miserable time trying to find a new doctor within a reasonable amount of time," said Stephenson.

In the text message sent by Lags Medical Center, it said, "A Lags provider will be reviewing your medical notes and if appropriate, a medication refill will be sent for up to 30 days" along with information on how patients can get their medical records.

"They've been around for so many years and for them to just close out of the blue, it's just crazy," said Audrey Ramirez, who has been going to the center for more than five years.

She deals with chronic pain, depression and anxiety.

Ramirez has appointments monthly because doctors can only prescribe her a 30-day supply maximum at a time.

She's contacted her primary care doctor as directed but said she can't get an appointment until July.

"The closer I get to the end of the 30 days, my anxiety is at a 10," said Ramirez.

Her medication will last her until June 2. After that, she said she may have to go to the hospital if she can't get into another pain management office to get a prescription.

"If I don't have any pain medication and I'm in severe chronic pain, that's the only place I'm going to head to because they can help me at least for the day," Ramirez said.

Action News reached out to several numbers connected to Lags Medical Center and was only able to get in touch with a call answering service, which was unable to provide any information.

We also reached out to the California Department of Health Care Services, which directed us to the California Department of Public Health for information.

The CDPH said via email they would not be able to respond Monday night but will provide a response as soon as they can.
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