NORTH ADAMS — When Dr. Shaohua Tang's medical license was suspended last week, it left his patients without a doctor.
Berkshire Health Systems, which was not affiliated with Tang, announced Wednesday that it will work with area providers to ensure the needs of Tang's patients are met, "even though there was already a severe shortage of primary care providers in northern Berkshire County before the closure of Dr. Tang's practice," according to the statement released by BHS.
"Dr. Tang has expressed his willingness to assist in addressing this challenge in any way that he properly can," the statement read.
Tang operated Integrative Medicine on Main Street since its opening in 2005. His license was suspended for allegedly prescribing pain medication improperly to patients who showed substance abuse issues — including one of who died of an overdose.
Not only are his patients left without a doctor to see, but they can no longer get their prescriptions refilled.
Berkshire Health Systems has augmented its Neighborhood For Health, located at its Northern Berkshire Campus, to help accommodate his patients' needs.
"In this time of great community need, Berkshire Health Systems anticipates the full and effective cooperation of its own Williamstown Medical Associates, and Community Health Programs and other independent physician practices to address the immediate needs of Dr. Tang's patients," BHS stated.
The Dartmouth-Hitchcock Putnam Physicians group, which is based at the Southwestern Vermont Medical Center campus in Bennington, Vt., also has three family care physicians operating and is seeking new physicians at SVMC's Pownal, Vt., campus, which opened last fall.
In addition to its Pownal services, the physicians group also has two family care doctors operating in Wilmington, Vt. In Bennington, it has a pediatrics practice and an internal medicine practice.
Though Dartmouth-Hitchcock accepts most insurances, it recommends that patients from outside Vermont check with their insurance provider to verify that it covers out-of-state care.
"We accept the majority of insurances, but for any given insurance type there are often specific products that do not cross state line," said Bob Schwartz, associate medical director of Dartmouth Hitchcock Putnam Group.
Tang's former patients can call a hotline established by BHS to connect them with the Neighborhood For Health or any other medical services they may need at 800-832-2516.
Southwestern Vermont Medical Center also has a "find a doctor" tool on its website, svhealthcare.org.
Community Health Programs, which operates CHP North Adams on State Road and Adams Internists on Depot Street in Adams, did not immediately return a call seeking comment.