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More than 3,000 patients at a surgical center in New Jersey may have been exposed to HIV, hepatitis B and hepatitis C, the New Jersey Department of Health confirmed earlier this week. | Shutterstock.com

More than 3,000 NJ patients may be exposed to HIV, hepatitis

SHARE More than 3,000 NJ patients may be exposed to HIV, hepatitis
SHARE More than 3,000 NJ patients may be exposed to HIV, hepatitis

WOODLAND PARK, N.J.– More than 3,000 patients at a surgical center in New Jersey may have been exposed to HIV, hepatitis B andhepatitis C, the New Jersey Department of Health confirmed earlier this week.

Patients who stayed at HealthPlus Surgery Center in Saddle Brook from January to Sept. 7 for a procedure may have been exposed, the department said Monday. The Department of Health closed the center from Sept. 7 to Sept. 28.

No illnessesreported and the risk of infection is low, according to the Health Department. The department called it “an abundance of caution” to suggest that people be tested.

In an email, the surgery center administrator, Betty McCabe, said the center is “focused on helping this select group of 3,778 patients get tested quickly and expediently.”

McCabesaid “deficiencies in infection control in both our sterilization/cleaning of instruments and the injection of medications may have exposed patients to blood borne pathogens …”

“It is important to note that to date, there have not been reports of any infections or illness related to the investigation,” she said. “We recognize that this may be upsetting to our patients, and we are taking this matter very seriously and taking steps to assist them during this process.To that end, we have provided information about where and when they can get tested, as well as offered to pay for all medical costs associated with testing.”

The surgery center wasowned by Yan Moshe, a real estate multimillionaire, The Recordreported in April 2017. At the time, Moshe also owned a surgery center in Hackensack that had been cited for failing to meet safety regulations. Moshe, who had no previous experience running a hospital, purchasedMeadowlands Hospital Medical Center in December 2017. The Secaucushospital is now namedHudson Regional Hospital, to which HealthPlus SurgeryCenter is referring patients to be tested.

A Marchinvestigation by The Record revealed that some surgery centers in the Garden State have been found to lack supplies and resources to deal with emergencies.

Because of a quirk in state law, these types of surgery centers with only one operating roomhaven’t been licensed by the state Department of Health and haven’t been required to report their patient-safety data. A billintroduced in New Jerseywould requiremore than 150 centers that currently operate without state licenses to get them.

There is some evidence that the state’s unlicensed centers have had more safety problems, according to The Record’s investigation.

Anyone who needs to be tested because of the exposure in Saddle Brook can call 1-888-507-0578 to schedule an appointment.

Contributing: Lindy Washburn and Keldy Ortiz, The (Bergen County, N.J.) Record.

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