"This large, costly outbreak highlights the serious consequences that can occur when healthcare providers do not follow infection prevention recommendations," said Kathleen Ross, an epidemiologist with the New Jersey Department of Health. For 31 affected Medicare patients alone, charges claimed for treatment topped $5 million.
Following initial reports of three cases from a local hospital to state and local health departments and multiple complaints directly to the facility in March of 2017, the facility voluntarily stopped performing procedures. A state infection prevention assessment team identified 41 cases along with multiple breaches of recommended infection prevention practices, including inadequate hand hygiene, unsafe injection practices, and poor cleaning and disinfection processes.
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After collecting medical records and self-reported data, the team of medical and public health professionals from state and county health departments, along with the New Jersey Division of Consumer Affairs, conducted an unannounced visit to the facility. The site visit included staff interviews, reviews of medical records, evaluation of regulated medical waste handling, and observation of mock procedures performed by the staff while the facility was closed.
The assessment team found multiple breaches of proper infection prevention and injection safety practices, including the lack of handwashing stations or alcohol-based rub in the exam rooms, exposed syringes, syringes with injectable substances drawn up to four days in advance, and inappropriate handling and re-use of...
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