The New York State Department of Health is advising any patient who received an intravenous infusion, injection or a blood draw at Tomorrow Medicine‘s two Westchester County locations be tested for Hepatitis B virus, Hepatitis C virus and Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV).
Additionally, Commissioner of Health Dr. Howard Zucker, ordered Tomorrow Medicine’s owner, Dr. Timothy Morley, to immediately stop practicing medicine, pending a formal hearing, due to charges of violating the state Public Health and Education Law and failing to produce relevant records as part of a state and local investigation.
The investigation was initiated by the Department of Health and Westchester County Department of Health after four individuals tested positive for Hepatitis C. Molecular testing performed at the Wadsworth Center—New York State’s public health laboratory—determined the strains of Hepatitis C virus in all four patients were identical, suggesting transmission likely occurred at the practice.
Exposure may have occurred at the following Tomorrow Medicine locations:
• 37 Moore Avenue, #3, Mount Kisco
• 1133 Westchester Avenue, White Plains
Patients should also be tested if they received these services at a previous medical practice known as Advanced Medicine of Mount Kisco.
The Department of Health is following standard protocol in recommending testing for Hepatitis B, Hepatitis C and HIV, which are all spread through blood exposure. Individuals who have received an intravenous infusion, injection or a blood draw at these locations should contact their health care provider to get tested. Testing is also available at no cost for patients through the Westchester County Department of Health by calling 914-995-7499 Monday to Friday from 9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Additionally, representatives from the New York State Department of Health are available to answer questions at 1-888-364-4902 Monday to Friday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.
The Department of Health will also issue a health advisory to health care providers statewide to notify them of the potential exposure.Health care providers should continue to report all suspected cases of Hepatitis B, Hepatitis C and HIV to their county health department, as required by Public Health Law.
Dr. Timothy Morley’s medical license was suspended following the discovery of a series of inappropriate infection control practices and concerns regarding the preservation, preparation, handling and administration of medication.The order to immediately cease operation—prior to a hearing—was issued out of concern that further lapses in infection control practices could put additional patients at risk. Dr. Morley also failed to produce relevant records or information requested by state and local health departments, within one day, as required under Public Health and Education Law.
A hearing before the State Board for Professional Medical Conduct is scheduled for Tuesday, Sept. 19.
Hepatitis B is a liver disease caused by HBV, which is found in the blood of people who have the disease. HBV is spread when blood, semen, or other body fluid infected with HBV enters the body of a person who is not infected.
Hepatitis C is a liver infection caused by the HCV.Individuals who inject drugs are at highest risk for infection.HCV infects about 25,000 people each year with most developing chronic infection. Many of those with chronic HCV do not know they are infected. Those individuals with chronic infection are at risk for developing chronic liver diseases such as cirrhosis and cancer of the liver. Treatment is available for both hepatitis B and C.
HIV weakens a person’s immune system by destroying important cells that fight disease and infection. No effective cure exists for HIV. But with proper medical care, HIV can be controlled. Some groups of people are more likely to get HIV than others because of many factors, including their sex partners, their risk behaviors, and where they live.
Editor’s Note: This information was provided by the New York State Department of Health.