The Raleigh-based Planned Parenthood Health Systems plans to open a new clinic in Asheville after news that FemCare abortion clinic is closing.
The news originally hit the press back in March, but WLOS has just uploaded their report, sparking this blogger to post the story now.
Western North Carolina’s only provider of abortion services, Femcare, put its property up for sale last week. And a patient of the Asheville women’s clinic tells Carolina Public Press that she was told by a clinic staffer that it will close soon.
According to a real estate listing, Femcare’s building, near downtown Asheville, is now for sale for $1.275 million.
Dr. Lorraine Cummings, who owns the business and serves as its sole physician, declined to comment to CPP on the matter when contacted on Monday.
FemCare says they have been in negotiations with Planned Parenthood for months and plans to shift it’s abortion services to them.
Statement from Femcare reads:
“Recognizing the political challenges in today’s environment, Femcare has been in conversation with Planned Parenthood for several months. Both parties want to ensure that women in Western North Carolina have strong, long-term access to full GYN health options, including abortion. With that mutual goal in mind, in the coming year Femcare will shift its abortion services to Planned Parenthood. During the time of transition Femcare will continue to provide abortion services but will not see new gynecology patients.
Femcare has offered comprehensive reproductive health services in the region since 1985. Similarly, Planned Parenthood has played a role in meeting women’s health care needs in Western NC and their patient base is rapidly increasing, providing over 3,000 medical visits during the past fiscal year.”
Melissa Reed, the company’s vice president of public affairs, told the media that, “We have been in constant contact with Dr. (Lorraine) Cummings” — Femcare’s owner — “to ensure her support and make sure that that care continues in the Asheville area.”
According to WLOS, Planned Parenthood officials say they’re working to expand their operations in Asheville. They are working to open a 5,300 sq. ft. clinic that will offer women’s reproductive health services, as well as abortion services.
Pro-choice and Democrat groups attempted to raise funds for the clinic after the state’s Department of Health and Human Services suspended their license, citing nearly two dozen safety violations discovered in a recent inspection.
The North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services announced that it has suspended the license of Femcare for two dozen serious health and safety violations discovered during a routine inspection on July 18 and 19th.
Femcare was last inspected 6½ years ago. The closure is not directly related to the new law.
Raleigh, N.C.-In response to inquiries, the Department of Health and Human Services confirmed today that it has suspended the license of a medical clinic in Asheville, N.C, which specializes in abortions. After a routine survey of FEMCARE, Inc., inspectors found egregious violations of existing rules that revealed an imminent threat to the health and safety of patients.
“Inspectors from Division of Health Service Regulation (DHSR) found the facility failed to comply with 23 separate rules,” said Drexdal Pratt, Director of DHHS’ Division of Health Service Regulation (DHSR). “We take rule violations very seriously and, when necessary, take firm action to prevent harm to patients and clients in the facilities that we license regulate and inspect.”
In addition to other findings, the survey found the facility:
Failed to maintain anesthesia (nitrous oxide gas) delivery systems in good working condition, with torn masks and tubing held together with tape.This could lead to patients not receiving the intended dosage and risk patients not being fully sedated during surgical procedures, leading to pain and physical harm.
Failed to ensure emergency equipment had weekly checks to ensure the equipment was suitable for use in patient care and failed to ensure that emergency medicine wasn’t expired.
Failed to have a resuscitator available.
Failed to sweep and mop the operating room floor and failed to properly clean operating room beds.
Failed to have a director of nursing responsible and accountable for all nursing services.
Failed to have an agreement/contract with an anesthetist or anesthesiologist.
Failed to have an agreement/contract with a registered pharmacist to assure appropriate methods, procedures and controls for obtaining, dispensing, and administering drugs.
FEMCARE, Inc.’s last inspection was on January 16, 2007, a follow up inspection of a previous survey, which found the clinic in violation of personnel and quality assurance rules.
The Division of Health Service Regulation is responsible for licensing, regulating and inspecting healthcare facilities, including hospitals, ambulatory surgical facilities, dialysis facilities, nursing homes and mental health facilities. The Acute Care Licensure Section has ten full time staff who survey hundreds of facilities across the state. The recently passed budget adds 10 full time employees to provide more frequent inspections of acute care facilities.
Read Survey here