Hepatitis Outbreak Could Result in New Laws - 8 News NOW

Hepatitis Outbreak Could Result in New Laws

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The hepatitis C investigation has uncovered a lot of holes in Nevada's health care system and some lawmakers want to see them fixed before public health is put at risk again.

When the hepatitic C investigation began, one of the biggest flaws noticed was the lack of communication among the health district, the state health divison and medical facilities.

Lawmakers on the Legislative Committee on Health Care feel that closing those loopholes of communication will drastically improve the system. Here are just a few of the recommendations the health committee wants to make to legislators next year.

Recommendations concerning the hepatitis C investigation

They support giving the Southern Nevada Health District and the state health division the authority to impose a cease and desist order at a medical facility where unsafe practices are found.

Lawmakers also like the idea of penalizing medical professionals or health agencies who don't report signs of dangerous disease to local health authorities. But in order for any of these recommendations to do any good, health officials say communication and sharing information among agencies is key.

"How do you make those connections and make sure those connections are stronger so that not only can we prevent those situations but we can respond much more vigorously and much more efficiently when something like this is identified," said Dr. Lawrence Sands, SNHD.

"We want to provide some penalty possibly for people not reporting. We don't want to punish people for reporting but we also within our agency want to use that info to be a prompter to see if there is a systemic issue in the facility," said Richard Whitley, Nevada Health Division.

Other recommendations include requiring ambulatory surgical centers to be accredited just like hospitals. Lawmakers are also recommending to give licensing boards authority to immediately suspend a doctor or nurse's license if there is an immediate danger to the public. Lawmakers also want to make sure these surgery centers and all other medical facilities are inspected and surveyed frequently and they want an annual report on how those inspections are going.

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