Medical facilities inspection bill filed in Del.

Legislation giving the Delaware Department of Health and Social Services the ability to inspect medical facilities for unsafe and unsanitary conditions was filed Thursday in Dover.

House Bill 47 would give DHSS the authority to inspect licensed medical facilities where invasive medical procedures are performed, and shut those facilities down if they are deemed unsafe or unsanitary.

“There is no state entity that currently has the authority to investigate the condition of these facilities based on unsafe and unsanitary conditions,” said the bill’s sponsor, Rep. Bryon Short (D-Highland Woods). “This is not about doctors or the work they perform. We addressed several concerns with the medical professionals through the Bradley bills we passed last year.”

Under the legislation, a complaint filed by a patient, parent or guardian of a minor patient would trigger a DHSS investigation. DHSS also could investigate a medical facility if an “adverse event” occurred, such as a person being harmed or worse.

Gov. Jack Markell said the legislation is consistent with the state’s bipartisan efforts last year to improve patient safety in the wake of former Lewes pediatrician Earl Bradley, who was arrested for allegedly molesting more than 100 children at his pediatric office. A series of measures passed last year were designed to strengthen patient protections and improve oversight of the medical profession.

“This legislation aims to improve patient safety and enhance public protections,” Markell said.

The bill has been assigned to the House Health and Human Development Committee.

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