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Lax Practices At Outpatient Clinics

Posted by Jane Akre
Wednesday, June 09, 2010 5:46 PM EST
Category: Protecting Your Family
Tags: MRSA, . Outpatient Centers, Hepatitis C, Hand Washing, Infection Control


IMAGE SOURCE: creativecommons.org, flexible endoscope, author de:benutzer:Kalumet

Outpatient Center Report

There are more than 5,000 surgical centers where a patient may have an outpatient procedure such as a colonoscopy or a face lift.

Since they participate in the Medicare program, taxpayer money is spent in outpatient or ambulatory centers, but until now, no one knew just how clean and infection-free they were.

A new federal study finds many same-day surgery centers have serious problems with infection control.

In a report published today in the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) researchers find infection lapses included a failure to wash hands and wear gloves, clean medical devices and reuse one-time use devices, among other problems, reports AP.

Many estimates find that around 100,000 patients die from preventable infections they contract in hospital settings they get from facilities that fail to practice basic infection control, such as washing your hands between patients.

Inspectors from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) visited 68 centers in Maryland, North Carolina and Oklahoma. Using a new audit tool, inspectors followed at least one patient at each location while they were there. The staff was aware inspectors had arrived but their arrival was not announced in advance.

An accompanying editorial in JAMA indicates those under observation might have been on their best behavior knowing inspectors were on-site.

The study found that 67 percent of the centers, which perform such procedures as colonoscopies and esophagus examinations, had at least one lapse in infection control and that 57 percent were cited for deficiencies.

Lead author Dr. Melissa Schaefer of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), quoted in the AP said “It’s all surprising and somewhat disappointing,” Dr. Schaefer added.

IB News reported on a recent hepatitis C outbreak in Las Vegas, which prompted the study. The Endoscopy Center of Southern Nevada investigation found a number of patients had contracted acute Hepatitis C from unsafe practices such as reusing syringes to access vials of propofol.

Outpatient centers collect about $3 billion from Medicare, reports AP. The report urges more inspection of outpatient centers which are visited for about six million procedures. #

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