State, insurers respond to hepatitis-C scare

Surgical tech Kristen Parker, accused of spreading hepatitis-C to patients at two Colorado medical facilities, has precipitated actions by both Colorado agencies and private insurance firms. The Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment has set up a hep-C page complete with links to Rose Medical Center and Audobon Ambulatory Surgical Center in Colorado Springs, plus info for patients and health-care providers. Meanwhile, a representative of the latter industry, UnitedHealth Group, has put out a release urging concerned individuals who have coverage through the organization to contact representatives using a variety of resources. The service is free, whether or not an individual is insured by UnitedHealth Group. Read the press release below:

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DENVER (July 13, 2009) -- UnitedHealth Group (NYSE: UNH) and its family of companies are lending assistance to the Colorado community to provide resources and support to people affected by the recent hepatitis C incident associated with surgical care delivered at the Rose Medical Center and the Audubon Ambulatory Surgery Center. UnitedHealth Group has been in frequent contact with these centers as well as the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment and is pleased to offer these resources to Coloradans affected by this tragedy.

We are aware that affected individuals and their families may benefit from the opportunity to speak with trained health professionals as they cope with the emotional consequences of this incident. As a public service to the affected community, UnitedHealth Group has made available its OptumHealth Crisis Line, free of charge and regardless of health insurance carrier or health insurance. Experienced master's-level behavioral health specialists can be reached by calling the toll-free help line number at 1-866-342-6892 which is available 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Additional resources and information can also be found online at www.liveandworkwell.com in special alert sections related to this incident.

The primary source of medical information for an individual with questions or concerns is through their personal physician.

For people who are insured by UnitedHealthcare, other supplementary information is also available by contacting a UnitedHealthcare or Secure Horizons customer care representative at the number listed on the back of their ID card and online at myuhc.com.

The Colorado Department of Health and Environment has posted information on its website at http://www.cdphe.state.co.us/dc/Hepatitis/hepc/HepCInvestigation.html

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