23-clinic pain practice in California closes without explanation

A chain of pain management clinics suddenly shut its doors May 14, according to The Modesto Bee.

Lags Medical Centers, which has 23 California locations, didn't provide much warning before closing down, according to the report. At least one former staff member told The Bee she was surprised by the closure.

Stephanie Bjorge, a former patient at one of the clinic's locations in Modesto, Calif., told The Bee that a nurse practitioner texted her about the closure May 13 and said it would provide one month's supply of her pain medications.

"The next closest option for me is San Francisco," she said. "There are no other options. There is nothing for us in the valley. This is catastrophic for us."

Lags Medical Centers also has locations in Nevada, Florida and Delaware. Its California locations and physicians have experienced past issues. CMS terminated provider status for Oxnard-based Lags Surgery Center in 2018 for failing to meet regulatory requirements. A year earlier, Ed Balbas, MD, a physician who is still listed as a member, was convicted of insurance fraud.

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