Mecklenburg County Health Department

Mecklenburg County Commissioners will meet Wednesday to hear how the health department plans to start making changes. A report suggests it could cost up to $4.6 million and take up to three years to complete. 


Alex Olgin

Mecklenburg County leaders are considering structural changes to the troubled health department.  Commissioners heard suggestions from two outside consultants on how to fix the department they found is poorly managed and doesn't have a sufficient system to track patient records. 


stethoscope
CC0 Public Domain

The Mecklenburg County Health Department clinics are disorganized and inconsistent. That is the conclusion of an outside evaluation publicly released today. The county audit review committee will hear details from these reports at a meeting this afternoon. The review was triggered after the county found out 185 women weren’t notified about their abnormal Pap smear test results in a timely manner.

David Boraks / WFAE

Mecklenburg County Commissioner Jim Puckett said he believes the health department has a culture problem. He said on WFAE’s Charlotte Talks the delayed notification of nearly 200 women with abnormal Pap smear results is an indication of a larger issue.


Charlotte Observer

Next week we will get more insight into proposed fixes for the troubled Mecklenburg County Health Department. Recommendations will be made to a committee looking into the department’s problems. The interim health director has been on the job a little less than two weeks. Gibbie Harris takes over the department as it struggles to rebuild trust after failing to notify nearly 200 women about their abnormal Pap smear results.  

David T. Foster III / The Charlotte Observer

Dr. Marcus Plescia has resigned as head of the Mecklenburg County Health Department, effective Aug. 4, capping off months of uncertainty about his future as employees grumbled about his leadership and county leaders questioned his performance.

Questions still remain about why it took leaders of Mecklenburg County's health department eight months to realize at least 185 women weren't notified of abnormal cervical cancer screenings.  County commissioners heard about the error in a closed session meeting in January. Public Health Director Marcus Plescia says a nurse failed to do her job, and her supervisor didn't catch it.  They and two others involved in the incident are no longer with the health department. The problems became public last month after Fred Clasen-Kelly with the Charlotte Observer began inquiring about it.  He joined WFAE’s Marshall Terry.

Mecklenburg County Manager Dena Diorio and health director Marcus Plescia (left) talk to reporters Friday afternoon.
(via Mecklenburg County)

Mecklenburg County Manager Dena Diorio says she's frustrated by accusations that the county tried to cover up big delays in telling women results of their cervical exams. In a press conference Friday afternoon, she said three separate reviews of the situation are planned.

The Mecklenburg County Health Department is facing an independent review after county leaders say the department failed to notify 185 low-income women about their abnormal Pap smear results.

County Manager Dena Diorio said the neglect went unchecked for a period of eight months, even while many of the women should have been notified immediately.

http://www.carolinarain.org/voicesproject

A diagnosis of HIV can lead to a deep sense of isolation - so deep that the fear of talking about it can impact not only quality of life, but treatment, too. The Mecklenburg County Health Department and local advocates are addressing this problem through something called The Voices Project. It's a way for people affected by HIV to share their experience with the community, and it'll take the stage Monday night at the Knight Theater.