Manhattan Dialysis Clinic Closed Due To Inappropriate Hygiene
The Life Care Dialysis Center, at 221 West 61st Street, Manhattan is closed because of unsanitary conditions causing health risk to patients.
State Health Department began inspecting the center in mid August and found out that the hospital does not properly follow hygiene requirements while serving patients. Inspectors found that employees did not regularly wash their hands, failed to disinfect equipment or change gloves for each patients individually.
However, the main cause for shutting the center down was the dried blood found on treatment chairs and one patient who contracted hepatitis C because of inappropriate hygiene in the hospital. Dialysis center’s operator and medical director Dr. Walter Wasser was fined $300000 and stopped his operating certificate. He could even lose his medical license in case of an investigation by the State Office of Professional Medical Conduct, but it is not yet known if such inspection is going to take place.
At the time when the center was being inspected it had 171 dialysis patients. All of them and another 657 patients who were treated in the center since January 2004 were contacted by state’s health commissioner and asked to get screened for possible hepatitis C, hepatitis B and HIV infection. There is only one person who is found to contract a kidney disease because of inadequate sanitary conditions, but all patients should be checked to be safe. Life Care Dialysis Center agreed to pay for all screening even if it is done by private clinics.
The last time inspectors had checked the hospital in January 2004 and had planned to check every hospital once a year, but because of lack of resources, the check-ups are being delayed. For this August inspection there was no specific reason - it was just a regular check-up.
"Life Care Dialysis Center will reimburse patients for the cost of testing as a result of this notification, including office co-pays. Patients are instructed to call Life Care's administrative consultant at 866-926-1987 for questions pertaining to scheduling testing and reimbursement. In addition, the State Health Department has established a hotline for Life Care Dialysis Center patients that will receive calls 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, for the foreseeable future, at 1-800-278-2965.
"In August 2008, during its inspection, the State Health Department advised Life Care Dialysis Center to immediately transfer its current patients to alternate locations for dialysis. The Life Care Dialysis Center has since agreed to cease operations permanently and to pay a civil penalty of $300,000 to New York State," reports NY Department of Healh.