MEDSAFE PRESIDENT RESPONDS TO CDC STUDY ON AIDS TRANSMISSION IN DENTAL PRACTICES
MEDSAFE PRESIDENT RESPONDS TO CDC STUDY ON AIDS
TRANSMISSION IN DENTAL PRACTICES
WAYLAND, Mass., May 14 /PRNewswire/ -- Marc Selman, president of MedSafe, Inc., New England's leading provider of OSHA compliance services to the healthcare field, today responded to the CDC's new study on AIDS transmission in a dental practice by reminding dental patients that "While there is some small risk of acquiring an infectious disease during a dental visit, patients should definitely not stop their regimen of regular checkups." According to Selman, "The risk of even more extensive dental treatment in the future because of neglect now should be of far greater concern."
In today's issue of Annals of Internal Medicine, a team of researchers from the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), which studied the Florida dental practice at which Kimberly Bergalis claimed she'd been infected with the AIDS virus, concluded that: "although the precise circumstances or mechanism of HIV transmission ... remains unclear, the preponderance of data support direct dentist-to-patient transmission."
The CDC report also noted the dental practice of Dr. David Acer, who died of AIDS in 1990, "had no written infection control protocol or consistent pattern of operatory cleanup and instrument reprocessing," procedures now required in all healthcare facilities by new federal regulations.
Selman added, "The CDC study should serve to emphasize to patients and providers the importance of the stringent new federal regulations, now in effect, that are changing the face of dental and medical practices nationwide. While patients can expect to see changes in infectious disease control procedures in their dentist's offices and may even find them alarming, they should be even more alarmed if they see NO changes."
OSHA, the Federal Occupational Safety and Health Administration, is now enforcing new infectious disease control regulations that require all healthcare providers in dental and medical offices, as well as in hospitals and other clinical settings to modify and revise many of their infection control procedures, and to train their employees in disease prevention methods. Practices that fail to comply face heavy fines.
Selman, whose firm provides an ongoing OSHA Safety Compliance Service (including unannounced inspections) to more than 350 New England dental practices and healthcare facilities, offers the following checklist of questions that dental patients should be asking when going to the dentist:
Are dentists, assistants and hygienists wearing examination gloves, masks, gowns, protective eye wear?
Are gloves removed and discarded after each patient contact?
Are the dentist and staff moving from room to room without changing their gloves and washing their hands?
Are reusable (non-disposable) items properly sterilized? How?
Are surfaces wiped down with an approved disinfectant between patients?
Do the counters, cabinets and equipment appear clean and free from dust and debris? (Note: water spots or streaks may be a good sign since disinfectants often leave a residue when dry).
Is there a written manual on safety and infection control procedures, and required safety training for all staff? (It's the law).
Is your dentist willing to discuss with you the new federal regulations and how they are being complied with in his or her office? IF not, you should ask why.
Does the office display the Medsafe, Inc. certificate. It's an assurance that your dentist is committed to the safety of both patients and staff.
For more information on dental safety issues, the OSHA regulation or Medsafe, Inc. call Marc Selman at 800-862-6675.
/CONTACT: Marc Selman, Peter Senne or Tod Dimmick of MedSafe, 508-358-4106, or 800-862-6675/ CO: MedSafe ST: Massachusetts IN: MTC SU:
TM -- NE013 -- 0500 05/14/92 18:00 EDT