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

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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. 

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*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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7 comments
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John Murray, UC Irvine
John Murray, UC Irvine

UC Irvine has corrected each finding made by the state health department. The report deserves a serious response, which the university has provided. We expect the state to accept the plan of corrections and verify it upon re-inspection.

The UC Irvine Renal Dialysis Center was reorganized and the university appointed a new medical director, new onsite nurse manager and administrator. Though there is no excuse for the conditions the report describes, the patient care remains among the best in Orange County, according to data published by the nonprofit journalism organization ProPublica during an investigation of Medicare and dialysis centers. That data is here: http://projects.propublica.org...

The Times has chosen not to inlcude this in their article. The data show that the observed mortality rate at UC Irvine’s dialysis center is the lowest in Orange County and is lower than state and the national averages – 11 percent at UC Irvine compared to 18 percent in California and 20 percent nationally. In addition, its patient infection rates are among the lowest in Orange County and are well below state and county averages.

The university remains committed to improving the facility and the care for those suffering from end-stage renal disease.

John MurrayUC Irvine

Grim R
Grim R

Corrected for how long? I've witnessed your facility go from SOP to actually following protocol after a death, to lapsing back to your SOP. You have a cancer there, and its called lack of concern for patients. Its probably because its near impossible for you to be sued, so you just dont care.

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