Hospital fined $228,000 for violations

The Nevada State Health Division has fined Desert Springs Hospital and Medical Center $1.14 million for more than 200 violations in its mammography department, including failing to document whether its mammogram system was operating as it should prior to some patient exams in 2007, health officials announced Wednesday.

As a result of the violations, 92 patient records were missing and the patients had to undergo additional screenings, the health division said.

The records in question, which Desert Springs officials say were misplaced, would have shown whether tests had been conducted to ensure the mammogram system was operating properly before those patients underwent mammograms, said Ed Sweeten, supervisor of the Health Division’s Bureau of Health Quality and Compliance Radiological Health Section.

The section is responsible for conducting annual inspections of Nevada’s 60 to 70 radiology programs. The inspections are conducted for the state and the federal Food and Drug Administration, Sweeten said.

Sweeten said the violations stemmed from an annual inspection conducted by his department in February, although the health division was notified by Desert Springs in late January that it “had some issues” with its records.

During the inspection, inspectors documented 228 violations that fell under seven Nevada administrative codes. The violations centered on problems in quality assurance and control as well as maintenance of records. Quality assurance and quality control documentation is used to verify the mammography department checks the X-ray machine, processing agents, darkroom, image quality and chemicals on a periodic basis.

“We’re not saying they (Desert Springs) didn’t conduct the pre-tests, but they do not have the records showing proof that they did,’’ said Sweeten, a radiation physicist. “In health care, if it’s not documented you can’t say it was done. It is a violation if you don’t show proof.’’

During the inspection, and after reviewing patient records, it was determined the mammography department did not have documentation for its pre-testing of the X-ray machine between April 30 and Sept. 21, state health officials said.

One of the checks involves producing an image of a “phantom” breast • a square block that mimics a breast. This test is conducted to ensure there are no photographic issues with the X-ray such as problems with density or contrast, he said.

“If the test isn’t conducted and, let’s say there is a speck of dust in the machine, it could impact the diagnostic interpretation of a patient’s film,” Sweeten said. ”Something as small as a speck of dust can look like a micro calcification which is the beginning of cancer. That speck of dust could lead to someone having further work-up, such as a biopsy, when possibly this shouldn’t be happening.’’

After the inspection, a sampling of the patients’ films were sent to the federal agency for review. About half of the samples had issues with contrast, technique and positioning, Sweeten said.

Also, documentation that would verify daily cleaning of the darkroom and the area where mammograms are conducted had not been done “at the desired frequency.” Check lists were blank in a four-month period.

The hospital was then notified that the state would be issuing a Notice of Intent to deny renewal of the hospital’s certificate to conduct mammograms. The settlement was agreed upon, which allowed the program to continue.

Hospital officials wouldn’t say how the records ended up missing but noted in a press statement that, based on an internal investigation as well as a review by the American College of Radiology, it is believed the quality assurance checks were indeed conducted.

The statement went on to say that the hospital believed the “mammography equipment was functioning properly, and all studies were of appropriate diagnostic quality from an equipment perspective.’’

Although state officials said 92 patients had to be re-tested, the hospital arrived at a different number. It said
Sweeten said in reviewing the hospital records, the lack of records “just stopped’’ going back to April 30, 2007, which is how the health division determined the number of patients who needed re-testing.

The fine, the largest ever handed down by the section, comes to $5,000 for each of the 228 violations, Sweeten said.

Under the agreement, Desert Springs agreed to pay the state’s Health Division $228,000. The remaining portion of the fine, $912,000, will be settled over time. To do so, the hospital has agreed to provide community services such as:

• Provide free mammograms for one year to male and female patients age 40 and 50 and who require financial assistance and lack health insurance. Patients who qualify for the Women’s Health Connection are also eligible.

• Provide mammograms at no charge to patients in May “in honor of Mother’s Day and in October in honor of Breast Cancer Awareness month.”

• Provide free seminars and education on the importance of annual mammography screenings and have a presence at community health fairs to increase breast cancer and mammography awareness.

• Provide a list of physicians who may accept Medicaid or offer charitable care in cases where follow-up care is needed beyond screenings.

According to the health division, Desert Springs also must outline and detail the duties of a mammographer that adheres to state and federal regulations, submit quarterly quality control and quality assurance records, and prepare and maintain a self-reporting policy that notifies the Radiological Health Section within 10 days of any violations.

Desert Springs is also subject to monitoring by the health division the upcoming year to ensure corrective actions have been implemented, officials said.

Sweeten said this is the first time a facility that provides radiology services has been slapped with such a fine.
However, he said, “it doesn’t make anyone bad.’’

“In all honesty, Desert Springs has an excellent program,’’ he said. “There was a lapse there and the staff has changed.’’

Contact reporter Annette Wells at or 702-383-0283.

Tate Elementary shows academic progress after categorical funding
Students at Tate Elementary in Las Vegas has benefited from a program to boost education funding in targeted student populations, known as categorical funding. One program called Zoom helps students who have fallen below grade level in reading. (K.M. Cannon/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @KMCannonPhoto
Three Square helps TSA workers
Three Square Food Bank donated over 400 care bags to TSA workers affected by the government shutdown Wednesday, filled with food, personal hygiene products and water.
Las Vegas furniture store donates to Clark County firehouses
Walker Furniture donated new mattresses to all 30 Clark County firehouses in the Las Vegas Valley, starting today with Station 22. (Mat Luschek/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Mount Charleston Gets Heavy Snow, Fog
Mount Charleston saw heavy snow today, and fog in lower elevations as a cold front swept across the Las Vegas Valley. (Benjamin Hager/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Krystal Whipple arrested in Arizona
Krystal Whipple, charged in the killing of a Las Vegas nail salon manager over a $35 manicure, is expected to return to Nevada to face a murder charge.
Holocaust survivor on acceptance
Holocaust survivor Celina Karp Biniaz, who was the youngest person on Schindler’s List, talks about the most important message for people to understand from her life and experiences.
Holocaust survivor speaks about telling her story
Holocaust survivor Celina Karp Biniaz, who was the youngest person on Schindler’s List, tells of opening up about her experiences during Sunday’s event at Temple Sinai.
Jesus Jara State of the Schools address
Clark County School District Superintendent Jesus Jara delivers his State of the Schools address on Friday, Jan. 11, 2019. (Amelia Pak-Harvey/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Michael Naft sworn in to Clark County Commission
Michael Naft, chosen by Gov. Steve Sisolak to be his replacement on the Clark County Commission, was sworn into office on Wednesday, Jan. 9, 2019. (Shea Johnson/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
CES Opening Party in Omnia Nightclub at Caesars Palace
CES conventioneers packed Omnia Nightclub at Caesars Palace, and let loose as they danced to DJs into the night. (K.M. Cannon/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @KMCannonPhoto
Las Vegas police piecing together details of fatal shooting
Six hours after the fact, Las Vegas homicide detectives worked to reconstruct the scene of a shooting early Jan. 7 that left one man dead in the southeast valley. (Rio Lacanlale/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Dyer Lawrence explains college football playoff system proposal
Las Vegan Dyer Lawrence has a new idea for a college football playoff system that includes a unique scheduling component called National Call Out Day. (Ron Kantowski/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Death row inmate Scott Dozier found dead in his cell
Nevada death row inmate Scott Dozier is dead. Dozier’s death ends his legal odyssey, which began in 2007 when he was convicted in the 2002 murder of Jeremiah Miller, but does little to clarify what’s next for Nevada’s death penalty.
I-15 southbound near Primm closed after ‘major crash’
A rollover crash Saturday morning involving at least nine vehicles on southbound Interstate 15 near Primm caused an hourslong traffic delay. Traffic was backed up to Sloan, live traffic cameras show. (Rio Lacanlale/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Death Valley visitors deal with shutdown
Visitors staying at the Furnace Creek Campground were forced to move from the campground following health and safety concerns due to lack of resources during the partial government shutdown at Death Valley National Park in Calif., on Friday, Jan. 4, 2019. Richard Brian Las Vegas Review-Journal @vegasphotograph
Half of homicides in Henderson for 2018 domestic violence related
Lt. Kirk Moore of the public information office of the city of Henderson police department speaks to the Review-Journal in Henderson, Thursday, Jan. 3, 2019. Henderson saw a slight increase in homicides in the past year. (Rachel Aston/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Governor-elect Steve Sisolak stops by Las Vegas Boys and Girls Club
Governor-elect Steve Sisolak kicks off his tour to Carson City, which will take him from Las Vegas, through Tonopah, and up to the capital city. First stop is the Downtown Boys & Girls Club.
Certificates for renewing wedding vows in Clark County
The Marriage License Bureau in Clark County began issuing a Certificate of Vow Renewal to married couples who are renewing their wedding vows on Jan. 3, 2019. (Shea Johnson/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Las Vegas flu season better than last year (so far)
Dr. Fermin Leguen, chief medical officer and director of clinical services at the Southern Nevada Health District, said there were 24 flu-related deaths at this point in the flu season. No deaths have been reported so far this year. (K.M. Cannon/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @KMCannonPhoto
The Las Vegas Valley’s First Baby of 2019
The first 2019 baby in the Las Vegas Valley was Melialani Chihiro Manning, born at 12:10 a.m. at Henderson Hospital. (Briana Erickson/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Las Vegas NYE Fireworks - VIDEO
The full show: A spectacular view from the rooftop of the Trump International Hotel as 80,000 pyrotechnics illuminated the Las Vegas Strip at the stroke of midnight. Fireworks by Grucci choreographed launches from the Stratosphere, the Venetian, Treasure Island, Caesars Palace, Planet Hollywood, Aria and MGM Grand.
Snow in Henderson on New Year's Eve morning
Light snow flurries in Anthem Highlands in Henderson on Monday morning, the last day of 2018.
Sources: Henderson Constable may face more charges
Henderson Constable Earl Mitchell may face additional charges ... stemming from his spending of county funds, sources said. Mitchell was indicted earlier this month on five felony theft and fraud charges ... after a Las Vegas Review-Journal story questioned his spending. But grand jury records show even more extensive spending including ... an $800 dinner at steakhouse ... nearly 200 atm withdrawals mostly at gambling establishments ... and even Disneyland tickets. But his attorney plans to ask a judge to dismiss the charges.
Las Vegas NYE Restrictions and Enhanced Security
If you are planning to celebrate New Year's Eve on the Las Vegas Strip or Fremont Street, be aware that you are not allowed to bring backpacks, coolers, strollers or glass. There will also be an increase in security to ensure safe celebrations across town.
Catholic Charities serves up 53rd annual Christmas dinner
Catholic Charities of Southern Nevada and more than 100 volunteers served 1,000 Christmas meals to Southern Nevada's homeless and less fortunate. (K.M. Cannon Las Vegas Review-Journal @kmcannonphoto)
Henderson couple adds another school to their generosity
Bob and Sandy Ellis of Henderson, who donate to several Clark County School District schools, have added Matt Kelly Elementary in Las Vegas to their list of schools where every student gets new shoes, socks and a toy. (K.M. Cannon/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Jeffrey Martin Added To Nevada's Black Book
Martin was one of four men convicted of theft and cheating at gambling in 2016 in Clark County District Court and sentenced to prison. The Nevada Gaming Commission voted unanimously Thursday to include Martin in the black book.
Raiders Stadium Timelapse
Construction on the new Raiders stadium continues in Las Vegas.
Buffalo Wild Wings security video
Security footage from a Buffalo Wild Wings restaurant in southwest Las Vegas captured a driver who repeatedly crashed into a vehicle in a failed attempt to squeeze into a tight parking spot.
The Magical Forest at Opportunity Village
Opportunity Village's Magical Forest added 1 million lights and a synchronized music show visible from all over the forest this year. The holiday attraction, which began in 1991, has a train, rides, food and entertainment along with the light displays. (Heidi Knapp Rinella/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
News Headlines
Home Front Page Footer Listing
You May Like

You May Like