BATON ROUGE - Louisiana Department of Health Secretary Bruce D. Greenstein has issued a cease and desist order to the Gentilly Medical Clinic for Women, requiring the facility, which has been repeatedly cited for health and safety violations since January 2010 and has been under two license revocations, to immediately halt operations.
"The repeated violations of Gentilly Medical Center demand action," said LDH Secretary Bruce D. Greenstein. "I assure the public that as long as these facilities are under my watch, I will hold them accountable and use every tool available to make sure Louisianians are not put in danger."
LDH issued a license revocation for Gentilly Medical Clinic for Women on May 25, 2011 after an investigation found repeat violations that posed significant health and safety risks to women. The facility was already under a license revocation originally issued January 2010 for substantial failure to comply with the minimum standards for licensure of abortion clinics. Gentilly Medical Clinic was appealing that decision when a May 6, 2011 survey found continued violations leading to the second revocation action on May 25, 2011.
The May 6, 2011 survey specifically found that the facility failed to provide nursing services to meet the needs of its patients and adequately monitor women in recovery following a procedure. The Secretary determined that the facility's non-compliance and violations posed an imminent threat to the health, welfare or safety of the patients. The Secretary not only issued a license revocation notice to the facility, but he also used the new authority granted to him under Act 490 of the 2010 Legislative Session by then-Rep. Fred Mills to immediately suspend the abortion facility's license. The facility was granted an injunction by the courts keeping LDH from applying Act 490's authority as to the immediate suspension of the license. However, the clinic failed to timely file an appeal request on the license revocation with the Secretary, which allowed the department to issue the cease and desist order.
Additionally, another survey of Gentilly Medical Clinic for Women was conducted on August 29, 2011, wherein numerous violations were cited, including repeat violations in the areas of nursing services and pharmaceutical services, as well as violations related to sanitary conditions. As the surveyor notes: "Observation on 08/23/11 at 9:35am of the only procedure room utilized for the performance of abortions revealed the following: an approximate 3-inch by 4-inch black area on the ceiling next to the air-conditioning vent; visible dust build-up on the ultrasound machine located next to the bed where the patient was placed for a procedure; and an unlabeled one liter bottle on the table next to the bed containing a brown liquid substance with visible crusting of the substance below the screw top."
"Fundamentally, this is about the health and safety of women, first and foremost," Secretary Greenstein said. "No one should have to face these kinds of conditions regardless of the medical services they are seeking. Enough is enough. I will do everything in my power to keep this place closed."
The Louisiana Department of Health strives to protect and promote health statewide and to ensure access to medical, preventive and rehabilitative services for all state citizens. To learn more about LDH, visit http://www.dhh.louisiana.gov. For up-to-date health information, news and emergency updates, follow LDH's blog, Twitter account and Facebook.