Asheville, N.C., March 14, 2012 – Mission Hospital announced today that it has temporarily suspended operations at Medisource, an internal supplier of custom packs for the hospital’s procedural areas, while the building’s air handling equipment and aeration processes are evaluated. It should be emphasized that this problem has not impacted any patient receiving care and will not result in any disruption of patient care services.
“The safety and well being of our employees is a critical priority at Mission Hospital. Last week, we discovered potential air quality issues at Medisource, which require further investigation," commented William Maples, MD, Senior Vice President and Chief Quality Officer at Mission Health. “While we are evaluating the building’s air handling equipment and capabilities, we have deemed it appropriate to temporarily suspend Medisource’s operations.” The employees presently working in Medisource will be temporarily assigned to other positions during this investigative process, so their employment will not be affected.
“As a result of the Medisource air handling equipment issues, a small number of employees have been exposed to ethylene oxide which is used in the sterilization process,” said Jill Hoggard-Green, President and Chief Operating Officer for Mission Hospital. “All employees involved directly in the sterilization process have been notified, but we are working with external experts to assess any risk that other potential exposures may have occurred.”
In order to ensure proper employee support and evaluation, and to most effectively assess both the air quality and aeration process, Mission Health has engaged several experts in these fields. Zory R. Glaser, PhD, MPh, CSPDM, with Johns Hopkins University is serving as a chemical expert on the project and Donald R. Linville, an Industrial Hygienist with certification through the American Board of Industrial Hygienists will lead the assessment of the building’s air handling equipment and capabilities. Charles Goodno, MD, PhD of Chapel Hill, NC is a clinical expert with board certifications in Occupational Medicine, Preventative Medicine and Internal Medicine. Dr. Goodno will provide guidance on medical surveillance.
"We want to ensure that our packaging services and processes are being performed to national best practice standards, so it is important that we work with specialists in this field who will use national benchmarks for the assessment,” said Maples.
Mission Hospital’s procedural areas that rely on the packaging service have taken steps to ensure that there will be no interruption in the availability of packs. “In order to ensure the timely availability of packs in the near term, Mission will obtain these products from an outside vendor until such time that we resume operations,” said Dale Fell, MD, Mission Hospital’s Chief Medical Officer. “Our goal is to provide the products that our procedural teams need in a timely manner, for the benefit of our patients. It is important to note that this problem has had no impact on prior or future custom pack sterility and all supplies have been and are safe to use.”
There is no current timetable for when Medisource will reopen.
About Mission Hospital
Mission Hospital, the flagship hospital of Mission Health System, is a not-for-profit community hospital that serves as the regional referral center for Western North Carolina and the adjoining region. According to Thomson Reuters, Mission Health System is ranked among the top 15 health care systems in the country, and Mission Hospital is the busiest surgical hospital in North Carolina. Mission Hospital offers physician services in more than 50 specialties, and employs more than 6,000 people, including over 1,800 RNs. Mission Hospital is committed to serving its community and improving the health of the people in Western North Carolina.