LAS VEGAS (CN) – PacifiCare of Nevada failed to monitor and regulate doctors in its HMO who reused syringes and may have exposed as many as 40,000 patients to HIV and hepatitis B and C, according to a class action in Clark County Court. The class claims that after disease caused by the reused syringes became public knowledge, a state investigation “revealed that identical injection practices were followed by (PacifiCare’s) health care provides located in Northern Nevada.”
Named plaintiffs Susan and Jack Sadler say PacifiCare, as an HMO, was obligated under Nevada law to establish and implement a quality assurance program to monitor, evaluate and regulate its health care providers, but failed to do so.
The HMO “completely ignored (its) statutorily mandated duty to establish and/or implement a quality assurance program,” the lawsuit states, and such negligence “resulted in the utterly substandard, unprofessional and unsafe conditions present at the facilities of its health care providers.”
The Southern Nevada Health District in January urged about 40,000 patients to get tested for blood-borne diseases after an investigation found that syringes and single-use vials of anesthetics were being reused on patients at the Endoscopy Center of Nevada-East, Desert Shadow Endoscopy Center, the Gastroenterology Center of Nevada, the Gastroenterology Center and the Spanish Hills Surgical Center, the lawsuit states.
Plaintiffs are represented by Craig Marquiz.