The doctor is no longer in.
Physician and former State Rep. Paige Kreegel abruptly suspended his Port Charlotte medical practice this week as he seeks the Florida 19th Congressional District seat.
For many, Kreegel’s action was unexpected, to say the least.
Patients who have been with Kreegel at the Janick Medical Group for as much as 20 years are now lamenting the loss of their doctor.
“I have no idea where he is; it’s just not like him,” Samantha Hultgren, 74, tells Charlotte Sun reporter Gary Roberts. “I have a hard time believing he would walk away from his patients like that. The only thing I don’t understand is why he didn’t let us old-timers know.”
Hultgren joins many of Kreegel’s longtime patients left wondering how to access the medical records they need to find a new doctor.
“I guess … he doesn’t care about the little people of Charlotte County,” said former patient Donald Kasper, who sent a letter to Kreegel’s office asking for an explanation.
Dr. John Janick, head of the Charlotte Harbor Janick Medical Group which bears his name, says Kreegel’s flight left not only more than 600 patients out in the cold, but also his medical group.
“He never contacted any patients the entire time he was away,” Janick told Roberts. “I’m his boss; he never reached out to me. He just disappeared.”
The only mention of Kreegel’s intention was a blurb posted January 11 in the Sun, giving public notice he was shelving his career in Port Charlotte.
Janick, Roberts notes, said Kreegel was not spending much time in the office anyway, and had missed 69 days last year without notice.
Although Kreegel is focusing on the April 22 special primary, there may be further rationalization behind the sudden exit.
Another doctor who recently split from the Janick Group, Dr. Steven Halasz, tells the Sun that the group was “not a friendly work environment— almost, in some ways, threatening. It was not conducive to taking care of patients.”
Halasz talked of a “mass exodus” of 14 employees from Janick, as well as the departure of about a half dozen registered nurses last year. Some employees were let go without explanation.
The GOP Congressional hopeful insists he fulfilled his obligation to patients.
“Appropriate notice was provided to his patients,” said Peter Krotec, Kreegel‘s attorney. “Dr. Kreegel complied with his ethical responsibility, as far as he is required to do.”