Wisconsin clinics may have infected thousands of patients

One of the nation's largest integrated care systems may have put thousands of patients at risk of getting dangerous bloodborne infections including hepatitis and HIV over a five-year period.

The Dean Clinic in Madison, Wis., announced Monday that it is contacting 2,345 patients who may have been put at risk during patient visits. The clinic said in a statement that a former employee "inappropriately" used insulin demonstration pens and finger stick devices during patient training between 2006 and 2011.

The developing scandal potentially weakens a close ally of the Obama administration on healthcare reform. The Dean Clinic has been a longtime proponent of the doctor-hospital collaboratives championed by the healthcare law, and CEO Craig Samitt addressed an Accountable Care Organization panel organized by the Medicare agency in June.

"Dean Clinic is committed to supporting our patients," Samitt said in a statement Monday. "There is nothing more important to us than the health, well-being and safety of the people we serve. Our goal is to ensure that those who may have been affected by the inappropriate use are promptly informed, tested and supported."

The clinic said the problem was discovered during a recent internal review and that state and local health officials have been informed.