HEALTH

Federal health officials investigating Utah-based company over COVID-19 testing

Apr 1, 2022, 7:45 PM
(A testing site operated by Nomi Health across the street from UDOH headquarters.  Photo: Paul Nels...
(A testing site operated by Nomi Health across the street from UDOH headquarters. Photo: Paul Nelson, March 30, 2022)
(A testing site operated by Nomi Health across the street from UDOH headquarters. Photo: Paul Nelson, March 30, 2022)

OREM, Utah — A federal health organization is investigating claims of substandard conditions at COVID-19 testing sites run by Nomi Health.  Officials say conditions at some testing sites were so bad they posed an immediate risk to public safety. 

Investigating COVID-19 testing sites

Inspectors with the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services sent a letter to Nomi Health on March 16 after following up on a complaint.  They reportedly inspected facilities in Bountiful, Millcreek, West Jordan, Park City, West Valley and Logan, and determined the company’s testing for the state didn’t meet standards set by the Clinical Laboratory Improvement Amendments, or CLIA. 

The letter states, “In addition, it was determined that the deficient practices of your laboratory pose immediate jeopardy to patient health and safety.”

Inspectors say they interviewed workers, managers and supervisors at several sites. And found they failed to follow the instructions of the test manufacturers.  They also found some test kits that were supposed to be kept at room temperature were put on hand warmers. 

In one site, inspectors say they found yogurt, Cheez-Its and rice cakes on the testing table next to contaminated kits.

Sanctions possible

A spokesman for CMS tells the Deseret News sanctions can be placed on a facility if they don’t comply with CLIA standards.  Those sanctions could be as costly as $21,600 per day.  Officials from CMS gave Nomi Health a deadline of March 26 to improve conditions at the sites. It’s not clear if any actual sanctions were proposed.

A spokesman for Nomi Health said the company wasn’t at liberty to speak about the inspection process being carried out by the federal government.  However, a statement issued by the company on Thursday states they reject “any implication or insinuation by certain people inside the Utah Department of Health that the lack of efficacy of certain antigen tests is somehow unique to Nomi Health. It is not.”

A letter from Nomi Health sent to UDOH officials says 38 out of 40 complaints were resolved.

A statement from UDOH says they haven’t seen the full report. However, now that state-sponsored testing has stopped, they will look into the issues raised by CMS.

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Federal health officials investigating Utah-based company over COVID-19 testing