CHARLOTTE, N.C. – A scathing report released Monday outlined a slew of problems at the Mecklenburg County Health Department after nearly 200 women weren’t contacted following medical screenings.
The release of the report comes just ahead of what is expected to be a jam-packed meeting for the Mecklenburg County Commissioners Tuesday evening.
But there’s one big thing left out of that report: Why those abnormal pap smears were never released to patients of the Health Department.
“The Health Department has had problems for years,” said County Commissioner Vilma Leake, following last month’s resignation of Mecklenburg County Health Department Director Marcus Plescia.
The report, which was conducted by consultants hired by Mecklenburg County officials, brought to light numerous concerns from both employees and Health Department procedures. Among the allegations? Readily leaving patients’ information unprotected and a failure to maintain consistent policies and procedures throughout all of its clinics.
Nurses said they feel they’re not important within the department and haven’t been given the proper tools to succeed. This has resulted in a higher turnover rate among Health Department employees.
“We certainly have seen some needs for tighter management control,” said Commissioner Trevor Fuller.
In March, the Health Department inadvertently released private, personal health information of between 700 and 1,000 people to two news organizations, violating HIPAA law that requires strict confidentiality when it comes to patient information.
“We need to do more than stop-gap measures,” Fuller said. “We need to go back and review our whole process.”
Leake took it a step further, demanding to know who was responsible.
“Somebody is not taking their job seriously, but a paycheck comes every two weeks,” she thundered.