Allen County Patient Safety Law Will Be Enforced June 1

By John W. Davis

June 18, 2010 Updated May 17, 2010 at 10:45 PM EDT

FORT WAYNE, Ind. (Indiana's NewsCenter) - The Fort Wayne-Allen County Board of Health will enforce a new patient safety law that's aimed at keeping the public safe during medical emergencies.

The law will go into effect on June 1, 2010.

Local health leaders say the law will keep better tabs on out-of-town doctors, forcing them to provide a 24/7 emergency contact number to county hospital or urgent care centers.

The Patient Safety Law was discussed and approved in late March/early April of 2010.

On Monday night, the board of health voted to begin enforcing the ordinance on June 1.

The new law says out-of-town doctors who practice in Allen County will give an emergency phone number where they can be reached, 24/7.

Officials say the medical professionals will be charged a $250 filling fee.

County health administrators say the fee is not aimed at making a profit but should be enough to enforce the law on a complaint driven case by case basis.

"If you get into trouble after hours, that you know where to go and that there is someone who's already been designated to provide those services to you the information that you need for the emergency doctor to be able to provide appropriate services," said Fort Wayne-Allen County Health Commissioner Dr. Deborah McMahan.

Another major issued discussed at Monday's meeting was the county's tattoo and body piercing ordinance.

Officials said they need more public health control over Fort Wayne's annual tattoo convention.

The health department wants to consider forcing tattoo artists to have individual permits.

They also want to require tattoo and body piercing artists to use disposable equipment to prevent diseases from spreading.

In 2010, department leaders said they had to cut between $150,000 to 4250,000 dollars from their general budget.

The 2011 budget is projected to experience the same cuts, so the health department is considering charging administrative fees.

The fees would be billed to the public or to medicaid if applicable.

The department could begin charging in August.

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