Colorado Hospital Urges Patients to Get HCV Test

Poudre Valley Hospital is recommending the testing for 210 former patients who were treated in its intensive care unit between Sept. 1, 2011, and Aug. 28, 2012. A former employee suspected of diverting prescription painkillers may have put them at risk of exposure.

Poudre Valley Hospital, a Fort Collins, Colo., facility that is part of the University of Colorado Health system, announced Dec. 30 that it has mailed letters to 210 former patients recommending that they be tested for hepatitis C. The patients were treated in its intensive care unit between Sept. 1, 2011, and Aug. 28, 2012.

There have been no reported cases of patients acquiring HCV at the hospital and no evidence thus far of harm to any patient, according to the hospital's news release. In it, Kevin Unger, the hospital's president and CEO, said the letter was mailed because a former employee who is suspected of diverting prescription painkillers may have put some patients at risk for exposure to hepatitis C during that time period. "When PVH discovered the allegations of drug diversion, the employee was immediately suspended and has since been fired," it says.

The hospital and investigators from the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment have confirmed the former employee had or might have had hepatitis C during this period; the release says the two organizations have been working on this case since early November 2013. "We're concerned. Some of the diverted medications were injectable narcotics that we believe were headed for the trash. We don't have any evidence that patients were harmed or infected with hepatitis C, but we want to be sure of that," Unger said.

The release says the patients will receive free, confidential testing and are asked to be seen as soon as possible.

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