Lake Tahoe Surgery Center reopens

An order by Nevada public health officials to stop patient care has been lifted at a Lake Tahoe clinic while the clinic continues to work with federal health inspectors to correct problems with its infection-control practices.

The Lake Tahoe Surgery Center at Round Hill, part of Barton HealthCare System, resumed a surgery schedule Wednesday after submitting a plan to correct unsafe syringe use at the clinic.

The state had issued a cease-and-desist order April 14, after a surprise federal health inspection discovered the problems. It was the second health inspection in a month to uncover unsafe infection-control practices at the clinic.

Nevada Health Division spokeswoman Martha Framsted said state surveyors told the Tahoe clinic that it could resume patient care after visiting the center and observing staffers using proper infection control practices.

The Health Division is operating under a "zero tolerance" policy since a hepatitis C outbreak in Las Vegas was linked to unsafe syringe use at an endoscopy center. Eight patients have contracted hepatitis C.

On Thursday, Southern Nevada Health District said another 10,000 people might have been exposed to hepatitis C at an outpatient medical clinic in Las Vegas. That brings to 50,000 the number of people who authorities say might have been infected with hepatitis or HIV through the Endoscopy Center of Nevada.

Officials say a review of health insurance records led to the higher number. The health district began notifying more than 40,000 patients in February that they might have been exposed to the potentially fatal viruses.

Authorities blame the infections on the reuse of needles and vials of medication on multiple patients.


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