Iowa auditor says Test Iowa ‘takes apparently pointless risks’

Coronavirus Updates

SALT LAKE CITY, Utah (ABC4 News) – Iowa State Auditor Rob Sand released a report involving the Iowa Department of Public Health and State Hygienic Laboratory from April 21 to July 10.

The office began the investigation after concerns on reporting delays and indirect reporting related to Test Iowa by state and county employees.

Test Iowa is in part ran by the same organizations running Test Utah.

Sand writes, “The issues could have a negative impact on the pandemic response by hindering contact tracing and decision-making at both governmental and individual levels.” 

Sand reports the Test Iowa COVID-19 test results are sent to a private party instead of IDPH, then it goes to another state entity, then goes to IDPH.

“The reporting chain for Test Iowa is contrary to law, takes apparently pointless risks, and increases taxpayer risk of legal liabilities,” Sand states. “Each link in the chain is an area where the integrity, reliability, and timely transmission of information is put at unnecessary risk of error, equipment failure, maladministration, outright falsification, or any other cause.”

The Auditor recommends per the law, SHL begin reporting Test Iowa results to IDPH.

Governor Reynolds Hosts said during a press conference Tuesday the state has been very transparent with the data and that they state is following the rule of law. 

The governor said she got her information from the attorney general who released information to Tri States Reporter Caroline Cummings stating, “While the State Auditor criticizes the use of “intermediaries” in the electronic reporting process, it is very common in electronic lab perforating in Iowa and other states to use intermediaries such as electronic platforms, exchanges, data integration systems, and others.”

The attorney general states their process is consistent with CDC guidelines and went on to say, “Implementing the Auditor’s recommendations would require the State Hygienic Laboratory to manually re-enter Test Iowa data, leading to increased burdens on the Lab and delays in reporting.”

Auditor Sands responded to the Attorney General stating, “If it is true that changing the Test Iowa reporting system to be legal would require hand entry of data by public lab technicians, then taxpayers probably should not have paid $26M for that system.” 

ABC4 News has reached out to Nomi Health for a comment on the Test Iowa results.

Mark Newman tells us in a statement, “The assertion that patient results go to any Utah partner before they go to the patient is unequivocally false. Once the TestIowa lab has completed the test analysis, the result is uploaded directly to the TestIowa system, prompting an immediate message to the patient via email and text to notify them that their results are ready. As always, we work in conjunction with the State of Iowa and the State Hygienic Lab to ensure the TestIowa program meets all local and federal regulatory standards.”

Jason Nguyen
Jason Nguyen is an award-winning reporter and photojournalist who is back with ABC4 News as the lead reporter on Good Morning Utah, bringing over a decade of news experience to the team.

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