Despite a paper trail that suggests Dr. Dipak Desai plans to open a new endoscopy center within walking distance of the Spring Valley Hospital Medical Center, it ain’t necessarily so.
An application for Desai to open Gastroenterology Center of Nevada at 5555 Redwood St. doesn’t mean it’s a center that will perform medical services, according to Las Vegas attorney Abran Vigil. He represents the Gastroenterology Center of Nevada, the parent company of Desai’s various endoscopy centers, which have been closed. He said Wednesday the new center will not be treating patients.
It’s an office set up to preserve whatever patient records still exist.
“It’s not a records repository so much as it is an office so that the remains of the company can respond to litigation requests,” he said. “The intent is not to try to resume patient services but try to comply with litigation requests.
“Police seized so many records, it did play a big part in making us cease client operations. But there is an ability to track down other records, and we don’t want to be attacked for lack of trying,” Vigil said.
The office will handle administrative medical services, medical record maintenance and medical billing maintenance.
He admitted it might look like a new clinic application.
It must have looked that way to Clark County Business License officials because county officials have decided to block any medical procedures from taking place there. The license has not been approved. There are some inspection issues that need to be resolved, said county spokesman Dan Kulin.
“I would expect if the inspection issues go away and we issue a business license, we’d put a condition on the license that would prohibit any medical procedures from happening there.”
That condition would be an administrative action, so county commissioners won’t vote on it unless Desai appeals the condition.
Workers were busy Monday working on the interior of Suite 104. A sign describing the building’s tenants identified Suite 104 as the site of the Gastroenterology Center of Nevada.
After it was discovered that six patients at Desai’s Endoscopy Center of Southern Nevada had been infected with hepatitis, and that staff at the clinic reused syringes and single-use vials of anesthesia on multiple patients, city and county officials moved swiftly.
The city of Las Vegas moved first, yanking Desai’s business license Feb. 29. Clark County followed a few days later. And then the Nevada Board of Medical Examiners said Desai had agreed to voluntarily stop practicing medicine until the board’s investigation was completed.
To date nine patients at two of Desai’s clinics have been identified as getting hepatitis after procedures at either the Endoscopy Center of Southern Nevada or Desert Shadow Endoscopy Center.
Notification has been sent to more than 60,000 patients who had had procedures at the two clinics, urging them to be tested to see if they’ve contracted hepatitis or AIDS.
In June, three months after his business licenses were yanked, Desai applied for a new business license for the center at 5555 Redwood St., a stand-alone, rather classy-looking building, which also houses a Verizon office and offices for the Life Baptist Church.
Here’s what’s odd. Despite the sign listing the center as a tenant, despite documents filed with the Nevada secretary of state and the Clark County Business License, the commercial broker for the building, Bridget Richards of New Growth Commercial Real Estate, insisted Wednesday, “There is no connection at all with Dr. Desai.”
Obviously, she was mistaken.
The building and land are owned by Rainbow MOB 5555 LLC. Vigil said he didn’t think Desai had any ownership interest in the building or property. Members of LLCs are not required to be disclosed.
Tony Clark, executive director of the Nevada Board of Medical Examiners, said Desai is prohibited from practicing medicine during the board’s investigation, but the agreement wouldn’t prohibit him from operating an office.
It makes sense that Dipak Desai would need a central office to help deal with all the criminal, civil and licensing investigations he faces.
Logic would say he would be crazy to try to open another clinic. But logic would also say he would be crazy to order staff to reuse syringes on multiple patients — as his staff contended.
Jane Ann Morrison’s column appears Monday, Thursday and Saturday. E-mail her at Jane@reviewjournal.com or call (702) 383-0275.