Houston Matters

How Do Health Clinics Make Sure They Don’t Transmit Diseases?

State health officials believe people may have been exposed to hepatitis and HIV at some Coastal Health and Wellness Clinics in Galveston County. We learn about sanitation standards for health clinics.

An accreditation site review conducted in February at the Coastal Health & Wellness clinics located in Galveston and Texas City found breaches in infection control related to dental and medical procedures.

State health officials are looking into the potential that hepatitis and HIV were transmitted at some Coastal Health and Wellness Clinics in Galveston County between March 2015 and February 2018.

Officials believe more than 9,000 people may have been exposed at locations in Galveston and Texas City — though there’s no evidence disease transmission actually occurred – because the clinics used improper sanitation methods over that three-year period.

As of Friday (March 30), in the midst of this investigation, Mary McClure, executive director of the clinics, and Dr. Beverly Foster, the director of the center’s dental clinic, both submitted their resignations.

We talk with Debra Caswell, the Infection Prevention Manager for Harris Health System, about how sanitation policies are generally maintained, what goes into monitoring and auditing these standards, and how they work to stay up to date on such policies.

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