An Exeter lawmaker intends to file legislation to prevent another disaster like the hepatitis C outbreak that has infected at least 20 people.
State Rep. Lee Quandt, R-Exeter, plans to file two bills.
The first would require mandatory drug testing of state hospital employees. Exeter Hospital currently doesn't drug test its staff.
State health officials have said the hepatitis C outbreak was likely by an Exeter Hospital worker who was stealing drugs. That employee apparently used a tactic called drug diversion – where a worker shoots up drugs meant for patients and refills syringes with saline. Those syringes are later used on unsuspecting patients. If the worker has a disease, he/she can spread it through the dirty needles.
The second bill Quandt intends to file would require a four-day shutdown of hospital areas where outbreaks occur. Exeter Hospital reported its outbreak May 15 but didn't close a lab where the outbreak occurred until 10 days later. The hospital has been for the delay.
Quandt is working on the bills with State Rep. John Reagan, R-Deerfield, and former State Rep. Elenore Crane. Reagan is the chairman of the House Health, Human Services & Elderly Affairs Committee.
"It is time to take some common sense actions to ensure that every New Hampshire hospital is safe," said Crane.
The lawmakers plan to file their bills in the fall.
A criminal probe is in the Exeter outbreak.