Hospital asks 936 Vancouver-area patients to be tested for Hepatitis C

VANCOUVER, Wash. -- PeaceHealth Southwest Medical Center is asking 936 of its patients to be tested for Hepatitis C after a former employee is suspected of diverting drugs.

The medical center and Clark County Public Health issued an advisory on Tuesday to the media and patients about the health risk.

"We sincerely apologize for the anxiety this news will cause our patients and their families,” Sy Johnson, chief executive officer, PeaceHealth Southwest Medical Center, said in a statement. “The risk of infection is low, but we are acting with great caution to ensure the well-being of our patients.”

The statement follows news that patients may have been exposed to Hepatitis C because an employee is accused of diverting drugs for personal use.

Letters were sent to patients on Tuesday. The testings will be paid for by PeaceHealth.

Temporary patient service center have been set up in three locations. Patients can also be tested by their health care provider.

Those with questions should visit their website or send an email. They can also call the patient care support line at 360-729-2000.