AdventHealth terminates contract with lab due to thousands of unreliable coronavirus test results

Investigations

TAMPA (WFLA) – 8 On Your Side is digging into a shocking discovery about a COVID-19 testing debacle. Florida health care company AdventHealth said it’s possible that as many as 33,000 Florida patients who took COVID-19 tests may have been told incorrect results, or received no results at all.

AdventHealth puts the blame directly on a third-party lab; however, they’re refusing to tell us the name of that lab.

“I’m really angry, I took a day off of work to get it done,” said Pasco resident Scott Williamson. “Now it turns out 17 days later that I don’t know anything.”

Linda Misner, a resident of Hillsborough County, shared his frustrations.

“I called them probably at least six times,” said Misner.

Williamson and Misner were tested at different AdventHealth sites on May 1, but both tell 8 On Your Side, they still have no idea if they’re COVID-19 positive.

“16 days after I get tested, and they told me that I would not be getting the results,” said Misner, “because the lab that they contracted with was not able to fulfill the contract.”

8 On Your Side has learned approximately 33,000 Floridians are in this same situation. They’ve either been given unreliable results or they’re getting no results at all, according to AdventHealth.

“That’s why I contacted you, because I just can’t seem to get any real answers,” said Williamson.

AdventHealth released the following statement:

“Unfortunately, one of these labs processing a significant number of our public tests has been unable to fulfill its obligation. AdventHealth has terminated its contract with this lab and we share in the disappointment and frustration this situation has created. We are deeply sorry for the inconvenience and uncertainty it has caused.  This situation has created unacceptable delays, and we do not have confidence in the reliability of the tests.”

8 On Your Side called AdventHealth after viewers say, they haven’t heard from anyone yet and they’re concerned about their results.

“Was it the type of diagnostic test that was used? Was it how this lab was processing this test?” asked Investigative Reporter Mahsa Saeidi on Monday.

A company spokesperson sent a second statement to 8 On Your Side on Monday:

We stand by our initial statement and have notified the appropriate regulatory agencies of the issues we experienced with this lab. Our complete focus is on notifying and accommodating every consumer who has been impacted by this situation. Our teams are working around the clock to contact these individuals and assess how we can best help them, which may include an appointment with a provider and a retest in some circumstances. Anyone experiencing COVID-19 symptoms should seek care immediately.” — AdventHealth

Meantime, Scott Williamson says he just wants answers.

“We need transparency now more than ever and we’re not getting it,” he said.

Right now, it’s unclear how many people impacted have already been notified. AdventHealth will only say, they’re working around-the-clock. They’re ending letters and in some cases, they’re calling as well.

8 On Your Side is working to confirm the name of this third-party lab.

Here’s the initial statement AdventHealth sent this weekend:

“As a system, AdventHealth has worked hard to provide free COVID-19 testing to our communities at a time when these services are scarce.

To meet the unprecedented demand for COVID-19 testing, we rely on nationally accredited third-party labs to assist us. Unfortunately, one of these labs processing a significant number of our public tests has been unable to fulfill its obligation.

AdventHealth has terminated its contract with this lab and we share in the disappointment and frustration this situation has created. We are deeply sorry for the inconvenience and uncertainty it has caused.

AdventHealth uses many other labs across multiple states to provide COVID-19 tests for our communities.

This issue impacts more than 6,000 people throughout AdventHealth West Florida Division. This situation has created unacceptable delays, and we do not have confidence in the reliability of the tests. We are working diligently to notify and appropriately accommodate those who are impacted.

Those impacted will be receiving a letter from AdventHealth and may also receive a phone call.

These individuals fall into the following two categories:

  1. Those whose samples were processed, and whose results provided by the lab are not deemed reliable. 
    • Individuals who had unreliable positive results will require retesting. 
    • Individuals with unreliable negative results who are symptomatic need to seek care and may require retesting.   
    • Individuals with unreliable negative results who are asymptomatic but request to be retested will be offered testing pending availability.   
  2. Those whose samples are at the lab in question and are part of the backlog will not be tested; therefore, no result will be available. 
    • These patients may require retesting if they are symptomatic. 
    • We have directed the lab to destroy these samples in accordance with the law.  

If someone is experiencing COVID-19 symptoms they should seek care immediately.

“It has been a privilege to serve our community during these unprecedented times, and we remain committed to our promise to keep you safe and provide the best care possible,” said Mike Schultz, President and CEO of AdventHealth West Florida Division. “We are taking ownership of these issues and are reaching out to the thousands of those who were impacted to help make it easy for them to understand the next step in their care.” “AdventHealth cares deeply for our patients, team members and the communities we serve. We are committed to minimizing the spread of COVID-19 and caring for those impacted.”

Copyright 2020 Nexstar Broadcasting, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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