FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
September 11, 2015
COLUMBIA, S.C. - Today, the S.C. Department of Health and Environmental Control (DHEC) notified abortion clinics in South Carolina of enforcement actions following an investigation and inspections.
"DHEC remains committed to ensuring that all clinics operating in South Carolina are safe and in compliance with state and federal laws," said DHEC Director Catherine Heigel. "We take the findings of this investigation very seriously and will work together with each of these facilities to help get them into compliance as quickly as possible."
DHEC regulates and licenses abortion clinics and the management of infectious waste.
On August 18, 2015, Governor Nikki Haley requested that the agency conduct an investigation of the three clinics currently operating in the state.
As part of the investigation, DHEC reviewed prior inspection reports of these facilities and conducted onsite inspections between August 31 and September 4, 2015. All three facilities were due to be inspected by the agency later this fall.
During the onsite inspections, DHEC staff interviewed clinic personnel, reviewed documents and patient files, and conducted an inspection of the facilities.
Based on these investigative and inspection efforts, DHEC took the following enforcement actions:
Planned Parenthood of South Atlantic in Columbia, S.C., and Greenville Women's Clinic must submit a plan of correction to DHEC by September 28, 2015, show proof of staff training, and pay any assessed penalties in order to lift their suspension orders or face closure.
Additionally, DHEC initiated enforcement action related to the management of infectious waste at all three facilities and against two companies that transport waste for Planned Parenthood of South Atlantic and Greenville Women's Clinic: Stericycle and MedSharps. Cited violations included insufficient documentation of waste disposal practices, failure to follow disposal protocol, and improper disposal of products of conception. The facilities and infectious waste transport companies have 15 days to meet with agency staff to discuss alleged violations, corrective actions, and possible civil penalties.
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