Des Moines, Iowa (WHO-TV) – State Auditor Rob Sand says the TestIowa COVID-19 program is illegally reporting its test results and could be putting Iowans at risk in a report released Tuesday.
According to the report, the Iowa Department of Public Health is fourth in the chain of test result reporting, receiving information only after two private companies. Sand calls that communication “contrary to law” and that it “takes apparently pointless risks and exposes taxpayers to potential liabilities.”
The TestIowa process begins with a pre-screening questionnaire filled out online. Users are then able to schedule an appointment for a test. Specimens collected at the sites are processed by the State Hygienic Laboratory in Coralville. Once the test results come back, they are reported to an out-of-state company named Qualtrics. Qualtrics then shares those results with another out-of-state company, Domo. Domo then reports the results to the Iowa Office of the Chief Information Officer. The OCIO then shares the information with IDPH.
According to Sand, this reporting system is illegal. The Auditor says in his report that state law requires certain test results be shared ‘immediately’ with public health officials.
COVID-19 tests that are administered outside of the TestIowa program are also processed by the State Hygienic Laboratory. Those results are then directly and securely reported to the Iowa Department of Public Health. Sand argues there is no reason that TestIowa results couldn’t be sent simultaneously to both IDPH and the out-of-state partners. “There appears to be no legitimate reason the results could not be reported immediately to IDPH while at the same time reported to Qualtrics, Domo, and then OCIO,” the report reads.
IDPH says the TestIowa program is still “timely”, according to Sands’ report. But Sand says the system violates the legal definition of the word ‘immediately’ in Iowa.
The TestIowa program was created via a $26 million no-bid contract in April. Governor Kim Reynolds has said she acted on the program on the advice of Ashton Kutcher.