The Greenville Women’s Clinic, the only in the Upstate that provides abortions, is being fined by the Department of Health and Environmental Control for mishandling what it calls “infectious waste.”
In March, DHEC launched an investigation into Greenville Women’s Clinic after videos surfaced that showed workers transporting “infectious waste” improperly.
DHEC’s investigation determined infectious waste was transferred off-site, at a Quick Trip near the facility, several times between June 2017 and January 2018. Infectious waste can only be transferred from one car to another at a designated facility.
In late March, when the clinic was notified of the violation, they immediately stopped off-site deliveries. The Clinic’s attorney, Randall Hiller, told DHEC officials his clients had no other choice on some occasions.
On Wednesday, the Greenville Women’s Clinic was hit with an Administrative Order from DHEC. The document outlines the details of it’s investigation into the clinic’s infectious waste practices, following a complaint filed against the Family Planning Facility.
According to the Administrative Order the complaints were in the form of pictures, documents and videos.
DHEC’s review found a representative of the clinic transported infectious waste from the clinic to a Quick Trip gas station. The representative removed the biohazard from the passenger seat and loaded it into the transport vehicle. The illegal practice took place on 5 different occasions.
Greenville Women’s Clinic did not dispute DHEC’s findings. However, the clinic’s attorney claimed the licensed transporter, Stericycle, refused to enter the premises to pick-up packages and specifically requested to meet at the Quick Trip.
A Stericycle internal investigation revealed a former transportation supervisor did accept to pick-up waste at an alternate location, but it was at the request of the Greenville Women’s Clinic.
The Administrative Order shows the Greenville Women’s Clinic broke nearly a dozen state regulations and was fined $19,000 dollars.
DHEC also fined the transporter, Columbia-based Stericycle, $9,500 dollars for four violations.
The Women’s Clinic attorney did file an appeal on Thursday. A spokesperson for DHEC sent us this statement about the appeal’s process:
For Greenville Women’s Clinic 18-10-IW, there is an appeal timeframe that has to be completed before the actual “effective date” specified in the order. The appeal period ends on July 12, 2018, at which time the order would become effective if not appealed. If not appealed, then the penalty would be due on August 13, 2018, but that is subject to change depending on the outcome of the appeal process.
Stericycle has already paid their penalty.
7News did reach out to all the parties involved in this case. The attorney for the Greenville Women’s Clinic says he cannot comment at this time and all other request haven’t been returned.