State Report Blasts UC Irvine Dialysis Center, University Claims Recommendations in Place

After a November inspection of UC Irvine's dialysis center, state regulators filed a 70-page report detailing poor oversight, unsanitary conditions and mistakes that put patient care and Medicare funding of the facility at risk.

News of the report, posted by the Los Angeles Times today, *prompted* UCI's School of Medicine dean and the UCI Medical Center CEO to send faculty and staff a joint letter claiming all California Department of Public Health (CDPH) recommendations are already in place. 

*John Murray, spokesman for UC Irvine Public Healthcare, says the letter was not prompted by the Times piece: “Our practice has been and continues to be to release information to the staff after we have filed a plan of correction, which we did by the end of the day Friday.”*

The letter signed by Dr. Ralph V. Clayman, the medical-school dean, and Terry A. Belmont, the medical-center CEO, states:

“Immediately following the November survey, the university instituted a top-down review and made all changes CDPH requested along with others designed to improve the center's operation. This included appointing a new medical director and nurse manager, revamping infection-control practices, and the collection and analysis of health data about patients and their treatments. The university also improved the center's physical environment.”

The letter also makes clear the dialysis center is not part of UCI Medical Center in Orange, but a separate facility under the School of Medicine.

Dialysis center officials were informed by the state Feb. 10 that a plan of correction must be submitted in 90 days, but UCI says that was submitted Friday. The university expects to be declared in full compliance.

Rusty equipment, blood-splattered furniture, and failures by nurses and staff to properly wash, change their gloves and monitor dialysis-patient fluids were among the findings in the report exposed by the Times.

But the state is also at fault: the California Department of Public Health is supposed to inspect dialysis centers every three years. Before the November visit, inspectors had not been to the facility since 2003.

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