Investigator Says Hepatitis C Probe Slowed By Nevada Law

LAS VEGAS (AP) - A health investigator says his attempts to collect information about a clinic spread that hepatitis C have been frustrated by laws preventing other agencies from sharing information.

Chief of Investigations Douglas Cooper on Friday told the Board of Medical Examiners that he had been prevented in getting the information for an investigation of the Endoscopy Center of Southern Nevada because laws prevent Las Vegas police from sharing much of their investigative information with him and his staff.

Cooper also says the state Board of Licensure and Certification initially declined to provide him with information identifying patients because of state privacy laws.

Cooper says that it will be some time before his findings are released to the public.

Officials have linked six cases of hepatitis C to the center. Some 40,000 patients have been notified they should be tested to determine whether they had contracted infections. A seventh case was linked to an affiliated clinic.

Board Executive Director Tony Clark says he will ask the Legislature to change laws to guarantee board investigators have access to the information they need.

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Information from: Las Vegas Review-Journal, http://www.lvrj.com

(Copyright 2008 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

AP-NY-03-29-08 1447EDT


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