Deficiencies bring fines against clinic

The Endoscopy Center of Southern Nevada was fined $3,000 for three deficiencies at its clinic following an investigation into how patients contracted hepatitis C, the Nevada State Bureau of Licensure and Certification announced Tuesday.

The maximum penalty for each deficiency is $1,000, said Lisa Jones, bureau chief.

According to a report by the bureau, the first deficiency was described as a failure by administrators to ensure staff had reviewed written policies regarding the proper use of single dose anesthesia medication; the correct method of cleaning endoscopy and colonoscopy instruments; and the proper way to dispose of biopsy instruments.

The Endoscopy Center of Southern Nevada is a high-volume gastrointestinal practice where colonoscopies are frequently performed. Health officials believe patients were infected when nurse anesthetists reused syringes and contaminated vials of medication.

Also, instead of cleaning one colonoscope or endoscope and then using fresh solution to clean another one, the same dirty solution would be used, the report states. Jones said one batch of cleaning solution should be used for a single endoscope or set of instruments.

The second deficiency concerned the responsibilities of the center's administrator who, according to the report, was not evaluating and revising polices and procedures related to the administering of anesthesia medication.

The third deficiency occurred when administrative staff failed to ensure anesthesia medication was being administered by a Certified Nurse Anesthetist.

The business has corrected each of the deficiencies, Jones said. Nevertheless, the clinic was closed after its business license was yanked by the city of Las Vegas.