PANAMA CITY — A nonprofit that administers COVID-19 tests in Bay County has alleged that the Florida Department of Health has reported inaccurate results.
In a recent letter to the media, PanCare of Florida President and CEO Michael Hill alleges that DOH officials have reported inaccurate data, in part by withholding some positive results, and have not provided the company with testing kits.
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Florida Department of Health officials on Wednesday declined to comment on the PanCare letter.
"With every effort we have made to improve and increase testing in our communities, we have been met with resistance and a constant uphill battle from both the state department of health and our local county health department," Hill wrote.
After being advised by the local FDOH of “COVID-19 testing supplies available on-site, and they would be creating kits to distribute to us,” Hill stated, “We have yet to receive any testing kits from them.”
“We made every attempt to aid our communities with testing when it was first needed, but were not assisted by the DOH. Eventually, we obtained testing supplies on our own accord through reputable private distributors,” Hill stated.
Hill said the COVID-19 data for the entire state "is skewed," with 6,900 antibody tests and more than 16,000 antigen tests "that have not been accurately reported" by FDOH "because they refused to accept the results of both of these FDA-EUA (emergency use authorized) approved tests at the time they were administered."
According to Hill, it wasn't until June 8 that health department officials requested negative antigen tests, commonly known as the rapid response test. However, as of June 24, DOH was not including positive antigen test results, according to Hill's letter.
"The statement directly indicates that positive results are being made aware to the DOH, however, they are being withheld from the public," Hill said.
He added that DOH is now including PanCare's negative antigen results, but not the positive ones. Also, "DOH has now requested patient-specific information on all negative results since June 1."
As of July 16 FDOH implemented a new electronic reporting process that has integrated previously reported numbers from PanCare, Hill said in the letter.
In total, Hill said PanCare has sent more than 6,000 polymerase chain reaction tests — the original and typical test common at its testing sites — to testing labs and reported results directly to the DOH. However, its the remaining 22,900 antigen and antibody tests that remain under or inaccurately reported.
"We believe that this issue can easily be resolved by the DOH by accurately reporting all testing information that they have received from organizations such as PanCare," Hill wrote. "We will continue to report our daily results and look forward to seeing an accurate depiction of the testing efforts made daily by all COVID-19 testing organizations throughout Florida."