Tag Archives: health regulation

DHEC in the News: West Nile Virus, Infant Sleep Safety, Mt. Pleasant Water, Assisted Living Facility

Here’s a look at health and environmental news from around South Carolina.

Hurricane Matthew continues to leave its mark on Beaufort County with West Nile cases

(Beaufort, SC – Island Packet) Just two human cases of the West Nile virus have ever been confirmed in Beaufort County — both within eight months of Hurricane Matthew.

Gregg Hunt, Beaufort County Mosquito Control director, said the timing of the events is no coincidence.

“Hurricane Matthew has played a major role in what we’re seeing,” Hunt said.

“After Hurricane Matthew, a lot of debris had fallen into standing water caused by the flooding and tidal waves,” he said. “And organic material decaying in the water produces an ideal breeding ground for that kind of mosquito (that carries West Nile) … That’s what set the tone after the hurricane.”

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According to the Department of Health and Environmental Control, about 1 in 5 people who are infected with the West Nile virus will develop a fever with other symptoms such as headache, body aches, joint pains, vomiting, diarrhea or rash. These people likely will have a full recovery, but fatigue and weakness could last for weeks or months.

Less than 1 percent of those infected will develop a serious neurological illness such as encephalitis or meningitis, according to the release.

Mom’s heartbreaking Facebook post raises awareness about safe sleeping conditions for babies

(Greenville, SC – FOX Carolina) According to DHEC, 194 babies died between 2009 and 2015 in South Carolina due of unsafe sleeping conditions, making this the third leading cause of infant deaths in the state.

“This cause of death is 100 percent preventable,” said Michelle Greco, manager of the Child Abuse Prevention Program at Greenville Health System.

Greco says babies under 1 year of age should sleep in a crib or bassinet with a fitted sheet and a firm mattress.

“Anytime that an infant under the first year of life is put down to sleep it needs to be treated the same,” said Greco, “They need to be alone with no other people, pets or objects.”

Mt. Pleasant residents ‘trying to have faith’ as they wait on results of DHEC water tests

(Mt. Pleasant, SC – ABC News4)  Several people living in Mount Pleasant want answers to concerns over water quality, and DHEC is now doing something about it.

Tuesday, workers were in Mount Pleasant testing water samples. It’s all part of an effort to find out if there is something in the water that could pose a health hazard.

DHEC samples were taken from three houses in the Mount Pleasant area. Officials with Mount Pleasant Waterworks said they chose those areas because of recent concerns.

Charleston assisted living facility where woman was killed by nearby alligator could face enforcement from DHEC

(Charleston, SC – Post and Courier) …Department of Health and Environmental Control investigators found [Brookdale Charleston] staff did not follow their own guidelines to conduct night checks on [Bonnie] Walker, a plan put in place when she had wandered off before. She had left the facility days prior “looking to go home,” and staff decided she needed to be housed in a memory care unit.

Now Brookdale Charleston could be facing enforcement action from DHEC. Representatives of the facility met with state officials June 13. A spokesman for DHEC said the two parties are “working on finalizing a consent order.” Brookdale declined to comment on the matter.

Such meetings are an opportunity for a facility to present any evidence of their own, said Pam Dukes, formerly a health regulator with DHEC. It would be “very unusual” for the negotiation not to end in enforcement, Dukes explained, which could mean a fine or a license suspension.

For more health and environmental news, check Live Healthy SC regularly.

DHEC in the News: mosquito spraying, crisis stabilization unit reopens

Here’s a look at health and environmental news from around the state.

Mosquito spraying will begin soon in Williamsburg County:

…at least 61 different species of mosquitoes exist in South Carolina. The most common diseases that could potentially be carried by mosquitoes in South Carolina include: West Nile, Eastern Equine Encephalitis, La Crosse encephalitis, Saint Louis encephalitis virus, and dog/cat heartworm.

DHEC has granted a special waiver to allow The Charleston Dorchester Mental Health Center to reopen a facility aimed at keeping more non-violent, mentally ill patients out of jails and hospitals.

Existing regulations required all patients have a chest X-ray done at least 30 days prior to entering the crisis unit:

While the requirement still exists, DHEC has given the local facility, the only one of its kind in the state, a special waiver, Blalock said.
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Center officials are currently working alongside DHEC to acquire a “crisis stabilization” license, which the state doesn’t yet have.

For more news from DHEC, visit Live Healthy SC.

 

 

Health Regulation Team Honored for Outstanding Effort in Patient Safety Work

By Jim Beasley
photo above: Shelly B. Kelly, Yolanda Holloman, Tamara Grant, Barbara Brague and MaryJo Rooue

Sometimes, regulating leads to the need for swift action.

Emergency actions taken by DHEC Health Regulations staff following an unannounced complaint investigation at an ambulatory surgery center have earned recognition from the federal Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS). Their efforts also exemplified the agency’s core value of promoting teamwork.

It was April 2015 when registered nurses Tamara Grant and Yolanda Holloman from DHEC’s Bureau of Certification visited a site and found that the facility was placing its patients in “Immediate Jeopardy,” the formal term for a crisis situation in which the health and safety of individuals are at risk. Serious violations were found, including practices covering infection control and surgical services.

The team collaborated with the Bureau of Health Facilities Licensing and the Division of Acute Disease Epidemiology, finding several areas at the facility requiring an urgent plan of correction. Bureau of Health Facilities Licensing staff referred the center’s medical director for review by another state agency, while Division of Acute Disease Epidemiology staff conducted a contact investigation of patients and collaborated with the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention for additional guidance.

CMS Award_2

Eva Johnson, Lorie Sanders, Tamara Grant, Sandra Johnson, Barbara Brague and Yolanda Holloman

Barbara Brague, a registered nurse with the Bureau of Certification, helped guide the inspectors in the field during a situation that proved a challenging experience for all. She interacted with the other DHEC bureaus and worked closely with the CMS regional office to determine whether the facility’s correction plan was acceptable.

DHEC surveyors conducted follow-up inspections in May and June 2015 to verify that corrections were made and to ensure the facility complied with federal regulations and conditions.

This shining example of cooperation and collaboration among bureaus demonstrates the importance of communication across the agency and with our partners.

Congratulations to all staff involved in this extraordinary effort for helping to protect the health and safety of patients. The award is well-deserved.

Putting the Rad back in Radiological Health

By Jamie Shuster

Rad Health

Responsible for protecting the public health and safety of all South Carolinians, our Bureau of Radiological Health (BRH) works to safeguard against excessive exposure to radiation. As part of this effort, the Bureau provides oversight and regulatory guidance to mitigate potential hazards in environments, like X-ray, tanning facilities and facilities that utilize radioactive materials that use ionizing and non-ionizing radiation.

The effects of radiation exposure and contamination can be severe, including acute radiation syndrome, skin burns, cancer, and emotional and psychological distress. Through working hands on with the regulated community, BRH Director Aaron Gantt and his team help to keep South Carolinians safe by ensuring all facilities that use radioactive materials, X-ray and tanning facilities, are registered, licensed, certified, and inspected.  Noted for their professionalism and customer services, the team often receives complements for the job they do upon inspections, responding to complaints/ incidents, phone calls, and emails.

Recently, the entire BRH team was applauded for their efforts by a Director of Radiology at one of the facilities that we help regulate. In an excerpt from a letter to the department, the director wrote:

“Your administrative staff on the switchboard, who is the first contact most callers get when they contact DHEC, is always friendly and helpful.  I have never had the opportunity to call SC DHEC when I have not received helpful advice. They are not obtrusive, are mindful of the work going on around them at the facility, and work with the staff to get their job done without holding up patient care.  I have never had hesitancy in telling my peers to call SC DHEC if they have questions. You guys are the “Good Guys”, out to help us maintain ALARA at our facilities in the best interest of our customers, our patients.” ​

Thanks to all of the members of our BRH team for your continued efforts to help protect the health and safety of South Carolinians.