StarMed moving all primary care to flagship location

Health-care company clears up confusion after communication snafu.
Patients are shocked when a number of local offices were closed abruptly in Charlotte
Published: Jul. 28, 2023 at 6:02 PM EDT
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CHARLOTTE, N.C. (WBTV) - A StarMed health-care provider spoke out Friday after a WBTV story revealed patients could not get in touch with their doctors.

“We don’t want anybody to feel that they haven’t been communicated to; we’re not perfect. And things don’t always go as planned,” StarMed COO Tracey Hummell said.

The company moved all primary care to its flagship location on Tuckaseegee Road. They closed the Eastland location July 19 and removed primary-care services from the Gastiona location. However, patients feel these changes were not clearly communicated.

StarMed posted on social media July 19, sharing they were “refocusing” their “resources on our flagship location on Tuckaseegee Rd,” but patients said they did not see that post and noted it did not specify the Eastland and Gastiona locations would end primary care.

StarMed posted on social media on July 19  announcing "refocusing" on its flagship location.
StarMed posted on social media on July 19 announcing "refocusing" on its flagship location.(Credit: WBTV)

The health-care company told WBTV on Friday it did send out communication to its patients July 19.

“That happened last week at the point that we started seeing all patients here at this Tuckaseegee location. Patients were communicated (with) ... anybody that’s a primary-care patient of ours was notified via the patient portal. There are also text messages and emails that go out – not everybody gets emails, they might get forwarded to junk; not everybody gets text messages,” Hummell said. “But, any patient that had an appointment or was an active patient of StarMed was contacted and notified of if they had an upcoming appointment where they needed to go to see their same provider so that there wouldn’t be any lapse in their care.”

The patients who spoke with WBTV said they did not receive any communication July 19 and checked their junk folders, too.

Twenty-four hours after the WBTV story aired, patients who talked to WBTV did receive an email from the health-care company on July 27, stating the health-care company had “relocated their East and Gastonia primary care offices.”

When asked if Thursday’s email was sent to the same email list that they say should have received an email on July 19, Hummell said, “I’m not certain, but likely the same group that was contacted via from the beginning up until yesterday.”

StarMed COO Tracey Hummell
StarMed COO Tracey Hummell(Credit: WBTV/ClaireKopsky)

Despite the communication confusion, StarMed said it hopes its patients know the company is not closing primary-care services.

“StarMed is not closing. We have a lot of exciting things happening in the future in terms of who we want to serve and what our mission is as an organization, and it really is to help with this mental-health crisis. So we are shifting some of our priorities,” Hummell said. “We are just consolidating our resources and making sure that we’re operating out of our main location, but in no way have we shut down facilities (or) are shutting down access for our existing patients to get the care that they need.”

The company plans to open a pediatric behavioral health clinic in east Charlotte in fall 2024 and said it will hire staff for that location soon.

For patients who live on the east side of town, StarMed told WBTV the company will offer bus passes to help those patients still have access to primary-care services off Tuckaseegee Road. To find a bus pass, go to the front desk of the Keith Chiropractic Clinic that is owned by StarMed and next door to the Eastland location. Transportation services are not yet offered from Gastonia.