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NYS Comptroller



From the Office of the New York State Comptroller

Thomas P. DiNapoli

August 21, 2018, Contact: Press Office (518) 474-4015

DiNapoli: Facilities Using Radioactive Materials or Radiation Equipment in New York City
Were Not Always Properly Inspected or Licensed

The New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene (DoHMH) did not always inspect facilities using radioactive materials or radiation equipment or check to ensure that they were licensed or registered, according to an audit released today by New York State Comptroller Thomas P. DiNapoli. The audit also found that the agency did not always follow up on violations to confirm they were corrected.

"New York City has strict oversight requirements to safeguard health care workers, patients and others from inadvertent radiation exposure. Unfortunately, we found a number of troubling instances of lax supervision that create the potential to put New Yorkers at risk," DiNapoli said. "The results of this audit demonstrate the need for the city's Department of Health and Mental Hygiene to live up to safety standards for handling radioactive materials."

As of July 13, 2016, DoHMH reported there were 358 facilities licensed for handling radioactive materials in New York City. In addition there were 97 hospitals and 7,030 non-hospitals (mainly dentists, but also podiatrists, veterinarians, urgent care centers, etc.) with registered radiation equipment. The audit randomly examined 67 facilities with radioactive materials and found five were not licensed (including two for more than two years) and four were not inspected, as required.

The audit also sampled 53 of the 97 hospitals with registered radiation equipment. DoHMH did not have records for two of them. Of the remaining 51 hospitals, five did not have registration certificates for the current and the prior registration period, four had gaps in their registration periods and six had not been inspected as required.

Overall, the audit found a variety of failures to meet New York City health code requirements for radiation equipment at 37 of the 51 hospitals. For example, hospitals are supposed to maintain a radiation protection program that keeps radiation doses "as low as reasonably achievable." The audit found DoHMH did not verify that six hospitals had all the required components of a radiation protection program.

When the agency did find violations it did not always follow up in 60 days, as required, to check whether the problems were fixed.

The findings of a review of a random sample of 80 non-hospital facilities were similar to those at hospitals. The audit found the agency did not always ensure that health code requirements for registration and inspection were followed. Also, many of these facilities did not have a radiation protection program to protect against overexposure and keep doses "as low as reasonably achievable."

DiNapoli's audit made a number of recommendations to DoHMH, including that it:

  • Take steps to meet the regulations for licensing and registration of facilities with radioactive materials and radiation equipment;
  • Conduct the required inspections;
  • Review registered facilities to confirm they have the required radiation protection programs;
  • Re-inspect facilities with violations within 60 days, as required; and
  • Verify that facilities render their radiation equipment inoperable if they have closed or their registration has expired.

DoHMH disagreed with the audit findings. Its full response, and auditors' comments on it, are available in the report.

To read the report go to:

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