|Dear friends and neighbors,
Today I requested State Auditor Charlie Janssen to perform a financial audit and investigation of the operation of Test Nebraska in order to ensure that the state funds are being properly and judiciously spent.
TestNebraska is comprised of a number of out of state companies with little prior experience in mass testing, contact tracing, or pandemic treatment. TestNebraska promised to administer 3,000 tests a day. However, throughout June, the average daily test rate has been 1,200 – considerably less than half of the stated goal of 3,000 daily tests.
I appreciate that we are in an unprecedented time in our state with respect to responding to the COVID-19 pandemic. But in our current budget situation, a $27 million award with barely any debate and no competitive bidding needs to be looked at closely. In short, I want to know whether Nebraskans are getting their money’s worth and whether the millions we are paying these companies are actually going to testing Nebraskans for COVID-19.
A report generated by the Iowa State Auditor of their similar TestIowa program, which is administered in partnership with the same companies behind TestNebraska, found that TestIowa took “pointless risks” and increased liabilities to the state. Related to the claims of accuracy, in mid-June of 2020 a number of investors sued one of the TestNebraska companies (Co-Diagnostics) in Utah federal court alleging that executives had misrepresented their Logix COVID-19 test as being “100% accurate” and that company directors, officers and scientists “made continual, knowing and willful misstatements” about their COVID-19 test to inflate the Co-Diagnostics’ stock price.
I have urged the State Auditor to consider these areas of focus in any audit performed of Test Nebraska:
- Is the quantity, or rate, of testing sufficient to justify our state spending this kind of money to TestNebraska
- Is the quality, or accuracy of the testing similar to or consistent with other testing being done in Nebraska by area hospitals or clinics?
- What is the actual rate of accuracy of the testing of TestNebraska?
- What measures or efforts were taken to protect Nebraskan’s private health information that is collected by TestNebraska?