Hepatitis scare prompts new laws for Nevada healthcare facilities

OSHA Healthcare Connection, March 10, 2009

A year ago Nevada state health officials were urging 40,000 patients to be tested for hepatitis C, which they may have contracted through infection control lapses, especially unsafe injection procedures, at outpatient facilities. Now legislators are considering at least eight bills aimed at preventing similar public health outbreaks, reports the Las Vegas Sun, March 1.

Key elements of pending legislation reported by the Sun include:

  • Requiring accreditation for all outpatient surgery centers.
  • Requiring physicians and their practices to obtain accreditation for services involving anesthesia and sedation.
  • Allowing public agencies to investigate and issue cease and desist orders involving infectious disease outbreaks.
  • Banning retaliation against healthcare staff who report unsafe medical practices.
  • Sanctioning medical facilities failing to report sentinel events.


Health officials estimate that more than 100 patients contracted hepatitis C from an endoscopy clinic at the center of the outbreak.

For more information on infection control practices in outpatient settings, see "Don't get hit for unsafe injection procedures" post at the OSHA Healthcare Advisor.

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