Jim Fisher

If you’ve been keeping your ear to the grapevine, you’ve heard the one about Covid19 testing centers inflating positive tests. I do not have the ability to ignore a good scam so what’s really going on here? Are we being hoodwinked? Are clinics getting rich off of positive results? I think we deserve answers so I looked deeply into this issue and actually interviewed insiders to get to the truth.

The story goes something like, “My cousin’s friend went to get tested for the Rona. He filled out the paperwork but had to leave before he got the test. The testing clinic called him the next day to inform him that he tested positive!”

I spoke with Dustin Grutzik, the practice manager at MedPlus in Florence, who was kind enough to shed some light on this. I was told that patients are given a clipboard of paperwork to complete up to 1 or 2 hours ahead of time while they wait in the drive-thru. Patients hold on to that clipboard until they get to the front of the line. If that patient fills out their paperwork but leaves before the test is done, the paperwork is never even seen and MedPlus has to buy a new clipboard. If the patient makes it to the front of the line, the paperwork is compared to your driver’s license just before you get the swab. So for this story to be plausible, patients would have to wait for hours to get a test, then throw the clipboard out the window and dash away just before they get a stick shoved up their nose. Who would do that?

Assuming you don’t dash off, a long Qtip is then shoved into the back of your brain via your nostril, your sample is checked and rechecked against your credentials by no less than 2 other people before it goes into the machine that determines whether or not you have cooties. The results take a couple of hours and you’ll be contacted as soon as practical. Other clinics may use different technology but the sign-up/dash-away process is the same.

Contrary to folklore, the healthcare workers standing in a 120-degree parking lot for hours on end receive the same money for positive versus negative tests but positive tests generate considerably more paperwork. So it would actually be in their best interest to bury the positives as opposed to inflating them. Alas, fraud is generally frowned upon and not many doctors or managers are willing to sacrifice their careers just to manufacture misinformation.

I know many of you have heard these kinds of stories directly from “a reliable source.” I sure have. I’ve asked those “friends of a friend” to please have the victim contact me directly to help set the record straight. I’ve not heard a peep. So while this “inflated numbers scam” is in the realm of plausibility, nothing about these stories gives me any confidence in their veracity. Do you have story to tell? Please let me know!

Jim Fisher owns Excel Computer Services in Florence. Reach him at www.ExcelAL.com