State agency requests medical records while investigating doctor's brochure

State agency requests medical records while investigating doctor's brochure
BAKERSFIELD, Calif. (KBAK/KBFX) — An investigation by a state agency into a Bakersfield doctor has led to questions about when the government has the right to a patient's medical records.

Dr. Jan Mensink recalled a visit he received in early May from an investigator with the California Department of Insurance. He recalled "fear and intimidation."

Mensink, who runs a family practice in Bakersfield, said a pair of investigators arrived two days later to investigate problems with his brochure.

A typo and a reference to "Obamacare" on the brochure prompted the investigation.

Mensink said the questioning then took a strange turn and crossed a line.

"They wanted a list of all our patients. I said, 'Listen, that's against (patient privacy laws). We don't do that."

Investigators never presented a warrant, and Mensink refused to hand over the medical records.

He contacted an attorney at the Pacific Justice Institute.

Mensink's lawyer, Brad Dacus, said they received a statement of apology from the state agency for any inconvenience.

The agency spokeswoman said the letter that was sent to Mensink's attorney was not an apology.

The Department of Insurance spokeswoman said the complaints about the doctor's alleged mistreatment are being looked at as a human resources issue.