MARYLAND — "I was really shocked and I don’t think that’s right for them to do something like that," said Yvonne Lane.
It’s a scary thought for Lane: inaccurate or missing COVID-19 test results.
"People are dying from it left and right. That’s nothing to play with. You're playing with peoples lives," said Lane.
But it’s reality for potentially hundreds of Marylanders who found out this weekend that their COVID-19 test results may be wrong, if they ever got them at all, because the lab processing the tests lacked proper certification.
Saturday, the Maryland Department of Health (MDH) issued an order requiring Advanced Pain Medicine Institute (APMI), which has offices in Greenbelt, MD, to terminate immediately all collection and processing of COVID-19 specimens.
After a complaint was filed about AMPI, MDH launched an investigation that revealed APMI lacked a certification to perform COVID-19 tests and patients were not able to obtain test results.
APMI has conducted COVID-19 testing at several events in recent days, including:
- June 6, 2020 at Church of Philippi, 7422 Race Rd., Hanover, MD 21076
- June 13, 2020 at Southern Baptist Church, 1701 North Chester St., Baltimore, MD 21213
- June 16, 2020 at Bilingual Christian Church, 6000 Erdman Ave., Baltimore, MD 21205
Lane and James Davis got tested more than 2 weeks ago at Southern Baptist Church.
"A couple people who work on my job had been exposed and thank God that I wasn’t. I wasn’t having any symptoms but I wanted to be sure anymore," said Davis.
It took almost 2 weeks for Davis to get his negative results, and Lane still hasn’t gotten them.
For over 2 weeks, we’ve been done the test and nothing has ever come out of it yet and that’s something to worry about it," said Lane.
In a statement, Southern Baptist Church pastor Donte Hickman said "We were happy to have been contacted to facilitate COVID-19 tests free of charge to our communities which have been underserved and neglected during this public health crisis. And we were looking forward to the potential for more testing in the future. However, we are glad that this was flagged... and it is our hope going forward that the state and more health providers will bring necessary COVID-19 testing into our communities that are negatively impacted by health disparities and co-morbidities.
Hickman said about 165 people were tested at their event and they told everyone to get retested.
If you were tested at any of these events, the results may be erroneous. You are encouraged to consider getting another test and, if symptomatic, to seek medical attention.
Under today’s order, APMI is required to notify patients and provide a complete accounting of all individuals that it tested to the Health Department.
The Department of Health has suspended APMI’s license to operate a medical laboratory and perform all laboratory testing.
“The Maryland Department of Health’s primary concern is the health and safety of Marylanders,” said Secretary Robert R. Neall. “Until Advanced Pain Medicine Institute demonstrates that it is in full compliance with the Code of Maryland Regulations, it must cease all COVID-19 specimen collection and processing.”