Doctor convicted of illegally accessing medical records

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LA JUNTA, Colo. – Filled with farmlands and fields, La Junta, Colorado is a tiny community about three hours south east of Denver .

Martin Sheen and the movie “Badlands” was about the worst thing to come out of La Junta, until Dr. Joshua Welch came to town. 

The town is about as far from his past as he could get, says a woman whose name is “Lisa”.

“It was meant to be a very nice discreet relationship,” said the woman. FOX31 Denver is protecting her identity because the story involves her medical records.

Lisa had a brief affair with Dr. Welch in 2008 when he worked at Fletcher Allen hospital in Vermont.  

She says about two months into their relationship, after the hospital had closed, she received a message from her primary care doctor that there was an irregularity with her blood work. Lisa panicked and because she couldn’t reach anyone by phone, Dr. Welch offered to help.

“He offered to look into my medical records if I wanted him to do that. I said absolutely not. You don`t have my permission to do that and you will never have my permission to do that,” she says.

But FOX31 Denver found records showing that’s exactly what Dr. Welch did. 

Lisa believes Welch was concerned the blood work may have uncovered a sexually transmitted disease which he could have contracted. Since Welch was married, an STD could have blown the cover on their affair.

She did not have an STD.

“I just feel like he abused his power as a physician to…’screen his mistresses.’”

At the hospital about a month later, things unraveled.

Welch confessed that he had checked Lisa’s records, and she alerted authorities.

Kevin Paul is an attorney who specializes in health related cases.

“As most people know, we can put lots of safety and security measures in place, but somebody who wants to, and has access to, the tools to do it can usually get around those,” said Paul.

Dr. Welch eventually pleaded guilty to the federal crime of unlawfully obtaining medical records. For his crime, Doctor Welch kept his license and but required supervision in practice. 

When FOX31 Denver reporter Justin Joseph confronted Dr. Welch, he declined to comment on this story and said he wasn’t sure his La Junta patients knew about his conviction.

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