Metro police, the FBI and state investigators served search warrants at six medical centers operated by the Gastroenterology Center of Nevada as they try to get to the bottom of the valley's current health care crisis involving hepatitis C.
The warrants were served at the following locations:
- 700 Shadow Lane, Suites 165A, 165B and 470, Las Vegas Nevada
- 4275 Burnham Ave., Suites 101 and 101B, Las Vegas, Nevada
- 3150 North Tenaya, Suite 225, Las Vegas, Nevada
- 5915 Rainbow Suite, 105, Las Vegas, Nevada,
- 2610 West Horizon Ridge, Henderson, Nevada
- 1815 East Lake Mead Blvd., Suite 207, North Las Vegas, Nevada
Authorities say the warrants are being served to obtain information necessary in an ongoing criminal investigation but they won't elaborate on what information they are seeking.
Case after case filled with files were stacked on the floor of the Gastroenterology Center located on Burnham Monday morning. This is just one of the six centers that was served with a search warrant after learning of unsafe practices injection practices at centers around the state that may have put thousands of people at risk for hepatitis C and HIV.
"I think it's good. They need to find out everything. The money that was turned into Medicare, that was not used properly," said Patricia Skeary, who is waiting for her test results to see if she was exposed to the viruses.
Police say the centers that were searched are being allowed to reopen but with limitations. They will only be allowed to consult patients, prescribe medicine and read lab test results.
The Endoscopy Center of Southern Nevada at 700 Shadow Lane will remain closed. This was the first center closed after it was discovered that the reusing of syringes and vials of medicine may have infected six people with hepatitis C. More than 40,000 people who were seen at the clinic over a two-year period are being asked to get tested for HIV and hepatitis C. So far, this is the only clinic that has been linked to transmitting the disease.
The state board of licensure has had some tough questions to answer about why it hadn't done proper inspections.
"It's kind of a sad reality you are trying to do the job with limited resources and until the crisis hits the measure of the resources needed is not evident until the crisis hits," said Lisa Jones who is with the state bureau of licensure and certification.
The FBI is also investigating whether fraud was committed at the Endoscopy Center of Southern Nevada.
On Tuesday, the Centers for Disease Control will be in Nevada to help inspect more clinics. In inspections last week, the state found there were other centers around the state also reusing medical equipment. Those centers were allowed to stay open after the procedures were changed.
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