Asheville, N.C. — As controversy brewed over changes to the state's abortion laws, state health officials moved to close a clinic in Asheville after it failed a licensure inspection.
The Department of Health and Human Services announced Wednesday it has temporarily closed the doors of FemCare, an abortion provider in Asheville.
The release cited "egregious violations of existing rules that revealed an imminent threat to the health and safety of patients."
The violations cited in the 49-page report include nitrous oxide masks held together by tape, dust on a crash cart, failure to check that a defibrillator was functioning, failure to mop the operating room floor after each procedure and multiple violations of policy requirements for personnel records, training records and standing agreements with other providers.
FemCare, which is licensed as an ambulatory surgical center, is subject to more stringent licensing standards than regular abortion clinics.
The violations found were under existing rules during an inspection July 18-19. While new abortion regulations were signed into law on Monday, DHHS has not yet promulgated the actual rules.
FemCare, a solo practitioner office, is operated by Dr. Lorraine Cummings. The suspension of its license was dated July 31, following a phone call with the provider, according to the report.
Cummings did not immediately respond to a WRAL News request for comment.
The clinic's last licensure inspection was in January, 2007. According to DHHS, that was a follow-up inspection after the clinic failed a 2006 inspection for violations of personnel and quality assurance rules.
FemCare is the third abortion clinic out of 16 in North Carolina to be closed for violations in 2013. A Durham clinic was also closed down earlier this month, and a Charlotte clinic was also temporarily shuttered earlier this year.