County, health leaders respond to COVID data questions
JACKSON, Tenn. — Are your medical records safe after you’ve been tested for COVID-19?
On Monday, we first told you about the Tennessee Department of Health requesting negative COVID-19 tests from Physicians Quality Care.
Dr. Jimmy Hoppers says it violates your privacy.
“The government has no business getting into your private information when you do not have the disease. That’s it,” Dr. Hoppers said.
WBBJ 7 Eyewitness News asked local leaders what they thought about the reporting.
“I don’t think this is new information that’s being asked or information that’s outside the realm of the government’s ability to request that information. Now, I could be wrong. I don’t know,” Madison County Mayor Jimmy Harris said.
“The explanation we got yesterday was that the state government is doing it. The state said the federal government is requiring it, so there’s no real ‘why.’ So I think a concise response on ‘this is why we need it,’ ‘this is why we’re collecting it,’ will go a long way. That’s what we’re trying to find out,” Jackson Mayor Scott Conger said.
Jackson-Madison County Regional Health Department Director Kim Tedford says there is a reason why health officials need to connect a certain person to certain test results, especially while studying a novel virus.
“It gives people who are studying that the information that they need to be able to say, ‘yes that person tested positive, then they tested negative, then they tested positive again.’ So they can look at that and see that the ability to reinfect is there. It’s just one example that I understand about that,” Tedford said.
Tedford said the data is needed by Medicare and Medicaid services. They’re going through the states to get it.
Dr. Hoppers is now facing a $500 fine for each day he does not hand over the data.
“I get it. We get tired,” Tedford said. “Why do they need this data? But I want to encourage people to ask those questions. There’s a reason behind it. It’s not just having data to be having data.”
Amy Garner with West Tennessee Healthcare says the hospital system is concerned about the number of COVID-19 patients being admitted to local hospitals.
On Oct. 13, Jackson-Madison County General Hospital reported only 58 COVID-positive patients. On Wednesday, the hospital reported 96 COVID-positive cases, almost a 50 percent increase.
Garner is asking residents to please be cautious and not let COVID fatigue set in.