City-Run Health Clinic in Druid Heights for Dead Rodents Flagged Inferior Conditions in New OIG Report – CBS Baltimore
BALTIMORE (WJZ) – Dead rodents, water leaks, and HVAC issues that could potentially spoil medical tests are just a few of the problems plaguing the Baltimore City Health Department’s Druid Sexual Health Clinic in Druid Heights, according to a new report from the Inspector General’s Office.
In a December 2020 investigation, inspectors observed dead rodents and insects in a utility room, damaged or missing ceiling tiles likely caused by water leaks, a damaged access door, and an outdoor garbage can that often fills up with garbage from local residents and businesses.
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While the health department hired a pest control company to remove old traps and install new ones, a janitorial company cleaning the building refuses to remove dead rodents, the report said.
The heating and cooling system in the building at 1515 W. North Ave. does not regulate the temperature properly. An employee of the health department reported an indoor temperature of 90 degrees in March 2021, according to the report. Several workers told the OIG that rapid tests for HIV and hepatitis C had to be stopped on some days because of the heat.
“Relevant correspondence from the OIG indicated that extreme temperatures could result in inaccurate test results or otherwise affect the proper storage of test kits,” the report said and 80 degrees and between 36 and 86 degrees, respectively.
During an on-site visit, inspectors noticed several rapid tests that were marked as “expired”.
The conditions are potential violations of OSH regulations and agreements between the city and trade unions to “provide employees with a safe and healthy workplace,” the report said.
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In a letter of reply, Baltimore City Health Commissioner Dr. Letitia Dzirasa addressed the building’s “infrastructure and operational challenges,” saying the agency is working with the Department of General Services to address them when needed, “which it often does.”
According to Dzirasa, the plant has been in operation for around six decades.
“The building is old, dilapidated and out of code,” she wrote. “The temperature problem has existed for a long time because of the age of the HVAC system.”
Dzirasa confirmed that the rapid tests marked “expired” were caused by the temperature of the building but said they will be kept for staff training.
In December 2020, the boiler failed and there was no heat for several days, resulting in the installation of a temporary unit, Dzirasa said. The agency has allocated $ 150,000 to partially upgrade the HVAC system.
Dzirasa also said that the pest control in the building has become obsolete due to “payment delays” to the contractor, who was hired to maintain the building every two weeks.
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The Department of General Services will conduct a site visit to “identify and eliminate potential entry points for rodents,” wrote the health commissioner. In addition, the Department of General Services recently installed a fence around the clinic’s dumpster to prevent illegal disposal.