TAMPA, Fla. — It was three years ago that the Laser Spine Institute spent millions to build a large office in Tampa.
- Laser Spine Institute said Friday it has closed
- Some patients had scheduled, paid for procedures
- Doctor says local options still available
- PREVIOUS: Laser Spine Institute Shuts Down Operations
Now, for apparent financial reasons, it has closed.
Billy Williams was scheduled for neck surgery — even making a payment for it on Friday — right before the Laser Spine Institute suddenly closed.
"I was shocked and blown away, basically because I've been trying to get this procedure done for a while," he said.
Like many patients, he's not sure where to go or if he will ever get his money back.
"When you do abrupt things like that, there's a lot of repercussions and people get hurt," Williams said.
While patients scramble to find another place to go, Dr. Abraham Rivera with Physician Partners of America says patients can go to other local practices for the same treatments.
"These techniques were pioneered by them, but since then, they have been incorporated into many practices, including ours," Rivera said.
He also says practices like his are looking to hire employees displaced by Laser Spine's closure.
One of the founding partners at the Laser Spine Institute, Dr. James St. Louis, is actually with Physician Partners of America. They say they are taking in new patients at their Tampa practice.
But it's still a tough option for many who thought they were being taken care of.
"I gotta start all over again," Williams said. "Nobody is reaching out to me. I've called the office and everything, and nobody will contact me. I was told somebody was going to return my phone call. I haven't heard nothing since."
The institute says they are working with patients to refer them to other doctors, but many say they still haven't heard anything.