New Jersey ASC may have exposed 3,700 patients to bloodborne pathogens: 6 things to know

Saddle Brook, N.J.-based HealthPlus Surgery Center potentially exposed patients to bloodborne pathogens after discovering an issue with its sterilization process and medication injections at the center.

 Here are six things to know:

1. The ASC sent a letter to 3,778 patients who underwent surgery at the center from Jan. 1 to Sept. 7 informing them of the potential exposure and recommending they undergo testing for hepatitis B, hepatitis C and HIV. “All of us at HealthPlus understand this may be upsetting. We want to assure you that we will assist you during this process, including paying for all medical costs associated with testing,” stated the letter.

2. The issue was discovered during a New Jersey Department of Health investigation.

3. There weren’t any reported cases of infection or illness related to the investigation when the letter was sent.

4. The ASC said the patients may have been exposed because ASC staff didn’t follow appropriate sterilization procedures and didn’t comply with regulations for dispensing and storing medication, according to an NBC News report.

5. The ASC closed from Sept. 7 to Sept. 28, during which time it hired new staff members and implemented improved infection control processes and training.

6. Center Administrator Betty McCabe issued a statement on the incident saying, "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."

According to a New York CBS report, surveyors found "the facility improperly stored sterilized items" and the center reported firing two employees as a result.

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