Unauthorized X-Ray Screenings Cost Health Services Firm $80,500

The Environmental Hearing Board in Norristown, Pa., has upheld the Department of Environmental Protection's $80,500 civil penalty against MOST Health Services Inc. of Voorhees, N.J., for conducting unauthorized X-ray health screenings at three locations in Pennsylvania. DEP assessed a civil penalty against MOST in January 2007 for conducting group health screenings without the department's knowledge or approval, and without the authorization of a licensed health practitioner. MOST appealed the penalty amount to the EHB, but this month the board rendered its decision to uphold the department's action.

"We are very pleased with the EHB ruling in this case," said DEP Regional Director Joseph A. Feola. "It is very important that these mobile operations have proper approval and oversight to ensure the health and safety of Pennsylvanians."

In 2006, DEP learned that MOST had conducted unauthorized silicosis screenings at three locations in Pennsylvania: the Best Western motel in Harrisburg; the Woodlands Inn and Resort in Wilkes-Barre; and the Comfort Inn in Essington, Delaware County. Such screenings require prior written authorization by DEP or a prescription from a licensed medical practitioner for each patient. MOST had neither in place when it exposed an estimated 161 people to X-ray beams during these mobile screenings conducted from Feb. 19-23, 2002, DEP said.

State regulations require users of radiation-producing machines to register with DEP to ensure that patients, personnel, and the environment are protected, and that operators are properly trained. Registration allows DEP to maintain an inventory of X-ray equipment in Pennsylvania so that all users can be inspected for compliance with the applicable radiological health regulations. The department says it conducts about 2,800 inspections annually at facilities possessing X-ray units to ensure radiation equipment and facilities meet current radiation protection standards. For more information on radiation protection issues, visit www.depweb.state.pa.us, keyword: Radiation Protection.

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