Abortion clinic in city says it plans to reopen
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The operator of a Downtown abortion clinic says the state Department of Health revoked its registration to operate the clinic "under false accusations," adding that allegations against the clinic may have arisen "out of anti-abortion sentiments," not based in fact.
When the Health Department issued its April 17 letter and order revoking American Women's Services' clinic registration, the company already had voluntarily closed the clinic at 320 Fort Duquesne Blvd.
But in a Friday email from its spokeswoman, Bridget Wilson, American Women's Services says the clinic had "at all times complied with all relevant regulations" and has plans to reopen the abortion clinic as soon as the department allows.
"During our most recent inspection of our office in Pittsburgh, the Department of Health found no deficiencies," the statement says, noting that the company now is working to reopen the clinic. "We have no estimated date for our reopening."
In its revocation letter and order, the Health Department said the clinic's parent company, Rose Health Services, didn't have a physician at the clinic, as required by law.
American Women's Services says that allegation is untrue. Its "obstetrician/gynecologist consultant physician" or clinic medical director, remains in place. Another OB-GYN had resigned, but American Women's Services said that physician never was identified as the clinic's physician consultant.
But in its letter and order, Anna Marie Sossong, Health Department deputy secretary for quality assurance, said the clinic closed as recently as April 12, even though its website continued saying it was open and providing services to patients, which represents another violation.
American Women's Services' registration was revoked, the letter states, because the Health Department doesn't permit a registration to become inactive. It also says the department "long has witnessed a chronic inability by American Women's Services to comply with fundamental statutory and regulatory requirements," with the department's main complaint focused on the clinic's failure for nine days to notify the department that a physician had resigned along with its claim that the clinic had no other physician available to provide medical services.
"Rose Health Services' failure to have a physician on-site to perform abortion services and notify the department accordingly in a timely fashion is a violation of the law," said Christine Cronkright, Health Department director of communications. "The Pennsylvania Department of Health stands by its actions in the April 17 letter and order revoking the registration."
First Published April 25, 2012 12:00 am