More than 3,000 patients at HealthPlus Surgery Center in Saddle Brook may have been exposed to HIV, hepatitis B and hepatitis C.
Amy Newman, NorthJersey
Patients at a surgical center in Saddle Brook may have been exposed to hepatitis B, hepatitis C and HIV, the New Jersey Department of Health confirmed.
Anyone who stayed at HealthPlus Surgery Center on Midland Avenue from January to Sept. 7 for a procedure may have been exposed, the department said. The center was closed by the Department of Health from Sept. 7 to Sept. 28.
No illnesses were reported and the risk of infection is low, according to the Health Department. The department called it “an abundance of caution” to suggest that people be tested.
In an email, the surgery center administrator, Betty McCabe, said “deficiencies in infection control in both our sterilization/cleaning of instruments and the injection of medications may have exposed patients to blood borne pathogens …”
McCabe said the center is “focused on helping this select group of 3,778 patients get tested quickly and expediently.”
“It is important to note that to date, there have not been reports of any infections or illness related to the investigation,” she said. “We recognize that this may be upsetting to our patients, and we are taking this matter very seriously and taking steps to assist them during this process. To that end, we have provided information about where and when they can get tested, as well as offered to pay for all medical costs associated with testing.”
The surgery center in Saddle Brook was owned by Yan Moshe, a real estate multimillionaire, The Record reported in April 2017. At the time, Moshe also owned a surgery center in Hackensack that has been cited for failing to meet safety regulations. Moshe, who had no previous experience running a hospital,purchased Meadowlands Hospital Medical Center in December 2017. The Secaucus hospital is now named Hudson Regional Hospital, to which HealthPlus Surgery Center is referring patients to be tested.
State regulators have also investigated Excel Surgery Center, previously owned by Moshe, The Record reported. It was discovered that the center failed to report a car fire that happened in the parking lot and caused patients to be evacuated. Inspectors also found that proper procedures weren’t in place for using multi-dose vials of medication in the operating room. The center later filed correction plans with the state, and they were accepted.
A March investigation by The Record and NorthJersey.com revealed that some surgery centers in the Garden State have been found to lack supplies and resources to deal with emergencies.
Due to a quirk in state law, these types of surgery centers with only one operating room haven’t been licensed by the state Department of Health and haven’t been required to report their patient-safety data. A bill introduced in New Jersey would require more than 150 centers that currently operate without state licenses to get them.
There is some evidence that the state’s unlicensed centers have had more safety problems, according to The Record’s investigation.
Anyone who needs to be tested because of the exposure in Saddle Brook can call 1-888-507-0578 to schedule an appointment.
Staff Writers Lindy Washburn and Keldy Ortiz contributed to this article.
Bergen County Executive Jim Tedesco announcing the introduction of the County’s new ARCH (Access for Reproductive Care and HIV Services) Program
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