Complaints filed against Bay Area doctor's vaccination clinic, alleging unfair distribution

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Sunday, February 28, 2021
Bay Area clinic's motive to vaccinate seniors questioned
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The Contra Costa Public Health Department confirms to the ABC7 I-Team a local medical practice was prohibited from receiving COVID vaccines after complaints allege an unfair distribution process.

WALNUT CREEK, Calif. (KGO) -- An East Bay doctor was hailed as a hero after creating an opportunity to vaccinate seniors. But, a week later her motive is being called into question.

A local medical practice is no longer receiving vaccines after complaints were filed alleging an unfair distribution process.

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Last week Dr. Parish hosted a drive through vaccination clinic for seniors at Stanley Middle School in Lafayette.

At least three physicians filed formal complaints to the Contra Costa County Public Health Ethics Board and another complaint was filed to the Medical Board of California.

"I'm pretty sure somewhere in there I promised somebody my firstborn child," said Parish commenting on how hard she worked to acquire the vaccines.

Parish, CEO of a private concierge medical practice, Comprehensive Wellness says she spent 60 hours trying to convince county health officials to give her 500 vaccine doses to host a drive-thru clinic to vaccinate seniors.

"We feel good that we were able to make a little bit of a dent in this problem," Parish said last week.

Multiple sources close to the ABC7 I-Team allege people with connections to her concierge medical practice Comprehensive Wellness reportedly not eligible for the shot jumped the line while seniors sat on the waitlist at the drive-thru clinic. At least three physicians filed formal complaints to the Contra Costa County Public Health Ethics Board and another complaint was filed to the state medical board.

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Parish denied the allegations but did confirm her practice actually received more than 500 doses.

"We realized at 1 p.m. on Sunday that we had more doses than we had people scheduled. We didn't have enough needles, we didn't have enough syringes," said Patricia Geraghty, a nurse practitioner working in her office.

According to Parish, less than 35 of her patients at Comprehensive Wellness received the shot - all of whom were either 65 and older or tier 1A.

Stephanie Sierra: "Are you saying not one person who was under the age of 65 OR not a healthcare worker received the vaccine?"

Patricia: "I don't know the numbers, I don't know the numbers, in terms of security breaches, in terms of people who came through and lied."

Later in the interview, ABC7's Stephanie Sierra asked the same question.

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Patricia: "When the vaccine doses were at the risk of being discarded, yes those under 65 were vaccinated. As what happens in every clinic."

Contra Costa Health Services stressed the importance to doctors that no doses should go to waste, even if it meant vaccinating those not in priority tiers.

"I can say quite confidently every effort was made to make sure no one under 65 was vaccinated," said Geraghty.

ABC7 reached out to the Contra Costa Public Health Department.

We received the following statement:

"CCHS has stopped giving additional doses to this clinic while records are reviewed."

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"I think it's just the issue of scarcity," said Parish. "People reacting irrationally because everyone needs it, no matter who you give it to, there's something else not getting it who's equally deserving."

Mike Wasserman who sits on the state's vaccine advisory committee says he's seen other similar cases where seniors are pushed out of line.

"I can't say I'm surprised," he said. "I have to say there should be consequences."

ABC7's analysis of newly-released data from the Walgreens Pharmacy Partnership Program shows only 18 percent of assisted-living and other long-term care facilities have been vaccinated.

It's slightly better with CVS, data shows 27 percent were vaccinated within the same groups.

"There will be those who try and get the vaccine for whomever they can get them for, and that takes away from the folks that need it the most," Wasserman said.

Dr. Parish says there was no financial incentive for the clinic as she is not taking in any new clients.

"It's brutal," said Parish. "Especially confusing when rules differ between health systems, counties, states, etc."

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