County Manager Says Most Affected Patients Have Been Reached, Changes Coming After Mishandling Of Pap Smear Test

UPDATE: The County Manager issued a statement Monday to provide an update on the recent mishandling of 185 patients’ pap smear tests.

According to the statement, officials are still working to locate and contact all 185 affected patients. Most have already been contacted and given information for potential follow ups if needed, officials say, but a few have still not been reached.

The following changes are also being made to the program, according to the statement:

  • All patients will be notified of their pap test results within 30 days of the test regardless of the result.
  • New reporting procedures have been implemented that track adherence to the abnormal pap test notification process. These reports will be reviewed and monitored by Dr. Plescia. 
  • We have hired an additional experienced medical assistant to ensure timely follow up of pap test results.
  • A plan to centralize follow up activity is being developed. Recruitment of a full time, experienced case management nurse to oversee follow up of all clinical tests is in progress.
  • Recruitment of an experienced clinic manager to provide oversight and management of this clinic operation is in progress.
  • On Feb. 27, Barbra Azzara was retained by the County as a contract clinic manager. She will oversee all operations of the clinic until a permanent clinic manager is hired. Barbra will report directly to Dr. Plescia so there is clear direction and accountability.
  • The County’s Internal Audit Department is conducting a formal review of the internal controls to assess and resolve vulnerabilities that may negatively impact patient care.
  • Contacted the NC Division of Public Health to request assistance with an assessment of Public Health Department operations and compliance with state and federal rules and regulations.

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UPDATE: County officials say four employees were fired in reference to the handling of the pap smear tests.

This comes on the heels of the announcement that nearly 200 patients who had abnormal test results were not informed for as many as eight months.

The County Manager provides County’s next steps to address delayed results for pap smear testing at Public Health.

Posted by Mecklenburg County on Friday, February 24, 2017

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“This is really not acceptable, this is not the way we do business,” said Mecklenburg County Health Director, Dr. Marcus Plescia.

Mecklenburg County Health Director Dr. Marcus Plescia promised they are fixing a major lapse over the past eight months. Patients who had abnormal pap smear tests were not contacted.

“One of our providers noticed that a patient who should have been having some follow up had not had anything done and began to wonder why is that,” said Dr. Plescia.

The Health Department says it found 185 women with abnormal pap smear tests did not have a follow up. One hundred ten of them need repeat testing in one year and 75 had a referral for colposcopy but didn’t know. Shocking statistics for women who rely on the county for health services.

“That’s kinda crazy for simple fact that , they shoulda known somebody came and got blood work or test results and they’re not getting the results they needed,” said North Charlotte resident, Keisha Miller.

Dr. Plescia says they acted quickly with the employees responsible but he didn’t say why the women weren’t contacted.

“Certainly there was a person in charge of this particular task who was not doing what we needed them to do but there were also people who should have been supervising that person,” said Dr, Plescia.

Dr. Plescia says he’s looking to bring in a national consultant to make sure this doesn’t happen again.

“I certainly hope that the efforts we make now and in near future will allow us to regain the public’s trust,” said Dr. Plescia.