Lawmakers Seek More Regulation of Surgical Centers

LAS VEGAS (AP) - State lawmakers are considering several bills
drafted in response to last year's hepatitis C outbreak that stemmed from shoddy injection practices at Las Vegas surgical centers.

A joint meeting of Assembly and Senate health committees is hearing testimony on the bills in Las Vegas Saturday.

The proposed legislation would offer stronger whistleblower protection for nurses; increase inspections of doctors' offices and outpatient surgical centers; and tighten requirements for reporting and investigating major patient problems.

The Las Vegas outbreak led to the largest patient notification effort in U.S. history. More than 60,000 people were told they may have been exposed to blood-borne diseases.

Nine cases of hepatitis C were directly linked to two now-closed
Las Vegas outpatient clinics. Another 105 cases were considered
possibly linked to the clinics' practices.

(Copyright 2009 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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