Despite numerous warnings from the city the Regional Hospital in Rapid City is continuing to mix regular garbage with medical waste. The red bags are easy to spot but the exact contents remain unknown. The city landfill workers call the hospital to inform them they need to pick up the medical waste from the landfill whenever they see the bags. The first citation was received by the hospital more than a year ago. There have been fines, discussions and warnings but the situation continues.
The city believes the hospital is trying to correct the situation but there have been no changes. This led to the hospital being named the country’s second worst teaching hospital due to the safety violations. The article from the medical website contained reports from health investigators working for the Department of Health in South Dakota. There were six 2017 violations pertaining to medical waste. Health officials have visited the hospital to observe the staff and conduct interviews. This led to additional violations.
Most of the violations are regarding the program for waste management. Once incident was documented by the state surveyors. A truck containing medical waste was sent back to the hospital. The truck continuously returned to the landfill with the waste. The situation has been dubbed as an infectious hot potato. The health officials have stated they are working towards a better system for sorting common garbage and medical waste. The hospital and the city are in constant communication regarding the issue. For additional details please visit rapidcityjournal.com.
There have been some improvements since last year. This includes using clear bags for common garbage and red bags for medical waste. Cameras have been installed in the loading dock and employee infection control has been increased. The city landfill is looking for the bags because these violations could result in a loss of their permit or heavy fines. The reports from last year contained graphic photographs of the medical waste. When the waste is discovered in a clear bag the landfill takes the appropriate steps prior to calling the hospital for a pick up.
The city is not having any issues with the other medical providers. The laws passed by Congress are pertinent. Medicaid services can refuse to pay for services causing a loss of major income for the hospital. The hospital can lose their federal funding certification. Depositing medical waste in a landfill can lead to contamination of drinking, ground and surface waters.