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5/20/2014

936 patients advised to be tested for hepatitis C

Contact

Michelle Halfhill, PeaceHealth Southwest Medical Center
Phone: (360) 514-3105

Theresa Cross, Public Health
Phone: (360) 397-8000, ext. 7378

VANCOUVER, Wash. – PeaceHealth Southwest Medical Center and Clark County Public Health are advising 936 patients to be tested for hepatitis C.

A joint investigation revealed that the patients might have been exposed to the hepatitis C virus through the actions of a former PeaceHealth Southwest employee suspected of diverting drugs for personal use. In certified letters mailed May 19, the patients are urged to receive hepatitis C testing at the expense of PeaceHealth Southwest.

The contents of the letter packet may be viewed here.

Temporary patient service centers have been set up in three locations to make the testing as convenient as possible. If they choose, patients can be tested by their healthcare provider at another location. Patients with questions are encouraged to visit www.peacehealth.org/HepC, send an email to HepC@peacehealth.org or call the patient care support line at (360) 729-2000 between 7 a.m. and 7 p.m., seven days a week.

“We sincerely apologize for the anxiety this news will cause our patients and their families,” said Sy Johnson, chief executive officer, PeaceHealth Southwest Medical Center. “The risk of infection is low, but we are acting with great caution to ensure the well-being of our patients.”

A news conference is scheduled for 1 p.m. today at PeaceHealth Southwest in the Health Education Center Auditorium. For more information or directions, please contact Michelle Halfhill at (360) 514-3105 or Theresa Cross at (360) 397-8000, ext. 7378. To participate in the news conference remotely, please dial (360) 729-1900 and use code 4643594#.

PLEASE RESPECT PATIENT PRIVACY. To comply with patient privacy laws, Clark County Public Health and PeaceHealth keep all names and other protected patient data confidential. To protect the privacy of our patients, we ask that you please submit all requests for patient interviews through Michelle Halfhill at (360) 514-3105. Thank you for your cooperation.

About PeaceHealth Southwest Medical Center
The region’s health care leader and steward for 155 years, PeaceHealth Southwest is a not-for-profit, 450-bed medical institution located in Vancouver, WA. Repeatedly recognized nationally as a 100 Top Hospital, PeaceHealth Southwest provides a full range of outpatient and inpatient diagnostic, medical and surgical services for Clark County residents. PeaceHealth Southwest is also one of Clark County’s largest employers with 3,400 employees and 600 active medical staff members that help support dozens of medical specialty services and programs, including cancer, heart, emergency, trauma, neuro-musculoskeletal, family birth and primary care services.

About Clark County Public Health
Clark County Public Health protects the community's health by preventing disease and responding to health threats. We influence conditions that promote health, such as access to healthy and affordable foods, clean water, health care and neighborhoods safe for walking and biking. We minimize the impact of disease outbreaks through vaccination, early detection and swift response.

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