Meck Health Dept. Faces 3 Reviews Over Failure To Deliver Test Results

Feb 24, 2017

Mecklenburg County Manager Dena Diorio says she's frustrated by accusations that the county tried to cover up big delays in telling women results of their cervical exams. In a press conference Friday afternoon, she said three separate reviews of the situation are planned.

County officials acknowledged this week that 185 women with abnormal pap smears weren't notified for months about their test results. Diorio blames the problem on an employee and her supervisor who weren't doing their jobs.

"I'm disappointed this happened. This is not the way we want to run any county service," Diorio said.

Diorio said the county is doing "everything we can to fix it."  Four employees who were involved are no longer employed in the health department, she says. And the county is hiring a new clinic manager and others to improve service.

The manager also bristles at the suggestion of a coverup.  

"I am frustrated that ... you know … people have indicated that we went out of our way to hide or cover up information, because that's disheartening to me, and it's certainly not the way I operate," she said. 

County officials first learned of the reporting problem in January, when a nurse practitioner noticed that patients hadn't been contacted about test results that showed a need for followups.

Diorio informed county commissioners of the situation during closed session. That was appropriate, she says, because it involved an investigation of employee wrongdoing. That's a personnel matter and appropriate for a closed session. She also says the county didn't want to go public until all the affected women had been contacted.  

The county now faces three separate reviews of health department practices, according to Diorio. One from the county's internal auditors, another by the state Division of Public Health and a third by an outside consultant.