Many in the business community are well aware of the regulatory reach of the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection (“DEP”) and its impact on their operations. Far fewer, though, are familiar with DEP’s role in regulating the healthcare industry. For example, the fact that DEP recently assessed a $15,600 penalty against the Wayne Memorial Health System in Honesdale, Wayne County might come as a surprise to many.
Under Pennsylvania’s Radiation Protection Act, DEP is authorized to license or register radiation sources, including radiation producing machines such a computed tomography (CT) imaging devices and high energy particle accelerators. In addition, close to 10,000 healthcare facilities in Pennsylvania have active x-ray registrations with DEP. DEP regulations require that machine operators have sufficient training regarding the safe use of the machines and impose detailed recordkeeping requirements. DEP, under contract with the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, also conducts inspections of the state’s more than 300 facilities that perform mammographic X-ray procedures.
DEP also has the authority to enforce the radiation protection regulations, including the ability to inspect healthcare facilities and impose civil penalties for violations. DEP has also referred violations of radiation protection requirements to the Pennsylvania Attorney General for criminal prosecution.
Attorneys at Stock and Leader have considerable experience in this specialized area of environmental and healthcare law. They are prepared to advise clients, particularly those in the healthcare industry who may be unfamiliar with DEP requirements, in ways to remain in compliance or to address potential DEP enforcement actions.