A civil dispute is underway between two Rim Country medical professionals.
Registered nurse Deborah Nichols has filed a civil suit against Dr. Michael Lowe after the two had a falling out earlier this year.
Nichols claims Lowe blocked her from access to medical and financial records, potentially jeopardizing patient’s health.
Dr. Lowe has not filed a response, but in an interview said that the case stems from a misunderstanding and that Nichols has access to the patient records she needs.
“That’s not going any further. Just putting the numbers to paper and dividing things up. Nothing really there. It’s just a partnership gone bad ... she and I didn’t agree on the way to do things here and she decided to leave – and that’s the story. The end of the story is the LLC (Limited Liability Corporation) is gone. My practice continues. She’s doing her own thing now. And that’s about it.”
On March 29, Superior Court Judge Peter Cahill issued a preliminary injunction ordering Lowe to give Nichols access to all records and for both to stop withdrawing money from any shared bank account until reaching a settlement agreement.
In a complaint, Nichols asserts that Lowe blocked her from her patient’s records, changed the locks on the clinic and wrote checks out of the business account for personal reasons.
Lowe said, “she always had the access. That was a complete non-issue. That had never been the case. She had access to everything. She didn’t know how to get access, that’s the problem.”
Lowe has not filed a response with the court or listed an attorney. Records show he has attended court hearings.
Nichols, a registered nurse, started Peak Medical Care with Lowe in September 2011, according to the complaint.
Nichols and Lowe equally managed the family medicine center, which had roughly 3,000 patients as of February 2013.
Starting in January, Lowe “began exerting additionally control over Peak Medical Care without consulting with or otherwise communicating with Nichols, his business partner.”
Nichols states Lowe withdrew in December approximately $27,000 in cash from Peak’s bank account for personal use and without her approval.
In January, Lowe allegedly locked Nichols out of the medical center’s accounting software and patient record program, blocking her from access to patient files, according to the complaint.
“Since Dr. Lowe locked Nichols out of the patient files computer program, she has not been able to review, update or otherwise access any of her patients’ files,” according to the complaint. “By preventing Nichols from accessing, in any form, her patient files, Dr. Lowe compromised patient care and affected the safety of Nichols’ patients.”
In February, the locks at Peak were changed and Nichols’ name was removed from the business’s bank accounts.
Nichols added that she has not been paid for equipment she bought the center or for work with some patients.
On March 29, Cahill ordered Lowe to grant Nichols access to all of Peak’s bank accounts, medical billing and financial and accounting records and not withdraw money from any shared bank accounts.