UW Hospital syringe patient banned from some clinics - WKOW 27: Madison, WI Breaking News, Weather and Sports

Call for Action: UW patient treated with dirty syringe now banned from clinics

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MADISON (WKOW) -- The news just keeps getting worse for Vincent Stepter of Madison.

Last week, UW Hospital asked him to take HIV and Hepatitis tests following a possible re-use of a syringe.

This week, UW Medical Foundation banned him from visiting any of its 27 clinics in south-central Wisconsin.

"These people are trying to tie me down mentally.  I'm not going to let them," Stepter told 27 News on Thursday.  "I'm going to fight until I can't fight no more. "

The letter from the UW Medical Foundation accused Stepter of being "verbally abusive" to doctors and medical staff.  It happened before the syringe incident.

Stepter denies the allegations, but admits he was very angry and speaking loudly when he says a doctor revealed his personal medical problems in a crowded hallway.

Stepter went to St. Mary's Hospital Emergency Department on Thursday because he says his arm is still inflamed.

That's the same problem he had in July at UW, when hospital staff now admit they may've used a contaminated syringe during the procedure.  Stepter had to undergo HIV and Hepatitis testing, although the results came back negative.

The procedure did not involve an actual needle, UW Hospital maintains.

A UW Hospital spokeswoman told 27 News on Thursday the letter banning Stepter from clinics run by the Medical Foundation has "nothing to do" with the syringe incident and is not in retaliation for speaking to 27 News.

The Department of Health Services is investigating the hospital for the syringe problem.

UW Medical Foundation banned 71 patients from its facilities last year.  UW Medical Foundation and UW Hospital are separate entities.  The hospital did not ban anyone in 2009.

Stepter is still permitted to seek treatment at UW Hospital.

Here's the full statement from UW Hospital:

You asked about policies and procedures relating to terminating a patient-provider relationship.  As you know, the University of Wisconsin Medical Foundation, Inc. (UWMF) and the University of Wisconsin Hospitals and Clinics Authority (UWHC) are separate legal entities functioning under the "UW Health" name. UW Hospital and Clinics was unaware of the UWMF termination until the patient brought it to its attention.  We are responding for both UW Medical Foundation and UW Hospital and Clinics.

UWMF maintains a formal written policy outlining the specific steps that must be followed in order to terminate a patient-provider relationship as a result of a patient's violent or threatening behavior, or non-compliance with recommended treatment plans.  The UWMF "No Further Service" policy allows for dismissal of a patient from an individual UWMF healthcare provider's practice, a particular UWMF-managed clinic, or all UWMF–managed facilities.  Notably, the UWMF policy exists to:

establish guidelines for when it is appropriate to terminate a provider-patient relationship or from the organization as a result of a threat, abuse, violent behavior or non-compliance with provider treatment plans.

Per UWMF's No Further Service policy,

UWMF and its healthcare providers "make good faith efforts to resolve differences/disagreements with patients in order to meet the medical needs of our community and promote continuity of care. However, there are circumstances when it is appropriate to terminate this relationship. In these cases, the patient (or representative) must be notified in writing and given at least 30 days to find another provider.

UWMF operates 40 primary and specialty care clinics at 27 locations throughout Madison and south-central Wisconsin; Approximately 2.2 million outpatient visits occur annually within UW Health.  The majority of UWMF clinics are primary care clinics, with several offering additional specialty services.  UWMF terminated 71 patients from these locations during calendar year 2009. 

UWHC does not have a No Further Service Policy.

UW Hospital and Clinics  leadership is not aware of any instance in the last year where a patient was dismissed from further service from UWHC as a whole.  UWHC recognizes the stress that illness brings to patients, and works with its medical staff to address these issues on a case by case basis.

Annually, UWHC has 750,000 outpatient visits, 25,000 inpatient stays and 45,000 Emergency Department visits. In rare instances when a patient-provider relationship can not be repaired, a physician may terminate his or her relationship with the patient.  In those cases, the patient may request to be seen by other physicians who practice at UWHC.



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