AP NEWS

Rapid City hospital alters waste policy amid criticism

May 7, 2018

RAPID CITY, S.D. (AP) — A Rapid City hospital says it’s taking new steps to ensure the appropriate disposal of medical waste after city officials brought attention to improper waste dumping.

Regional Health Rapid City Hospital’s chief operating officer and president, Paulette Davidson, posted a Facebook video Friday regarding the hospital’s waste disposal policy, the Rapid City Journal reported . The hospital is instituting new measures, including off-site sorting and labeling of bags by department so that officials can trace improperly disposed waste, according to Davidson.

“We know we can do better, and we will remain committed to the environment,” Davidson said. “We will address this important issue.”

The action follows criticism after Rapid City officials said last week that the hospital continued to dump medical waste at the city landfill despite repeated warnings and fines over the past year.

“You may have seen news reports about disposal of medical waste from our Rapid City hospital,” Davidson said. “We want you to know that Regional Health is committed to meeting standards and all regulations governing the disposal of medical waste.”

She said that only 254 bags of medical waste, or less than one-tenth of one percent, were improperly disposed.

The hospital has also provided additional training for staff and more monitoring under last year’s improvement plan, Davidson said.

The South Dakota Department of Health recently visited the hospital on request from the Centers for Medicaid and Medicare Services. Davidson said surveyors “applauded” the hospital “for going above and beyond” expectations outlined in the improvement plan.

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Information from: Rapid City Journal, http://www.rapidcityjournal.com