County Health Director Addresses State Claims of Wrongdoing
DALLAS (CBSDFW.COM) - The head of Dallas County Health & Human Services Department has responded to allegations that placed his agency on probation. The Texas Health & Human Services’ Office of the Inspector General found county employees lied about their success tracking possible cases of HIV and other STD’s.
Zach Thompson said he is still waiting for an internal investigation to determine exactly what happened within his own agency. The state’s investigation found three employees entered false data into a system tracking patients with HIV and other sexually transmitted diseases. Employees were linking people who had no prior relationship, according to the report.
“There was nothing to be gained by falsifying these names,” said Thompson.
The report stated one employee claimed he falsified names “under the direction of LaShonda Worthey,” a department supervisor. Yet another employee said “Worthey was aware the entries were being made to increase the agency’s performance numbers.”
“If you look at the actual document, it says the supervisor was aware. Aware of what?” asked Thompson, who has re-assigned two employees involved in the incident. A third employee, working for the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, was relocated.
The state ordered the department develop a plan to identify and deal with record tampering in the future. If the department doesn’t comply, the state could terminate a nearly $2 million dollar contract with the county that funds HIV and STD prevention.
The state has a list of 8 requirements for the county to meet while on probation for six months. Included on the list are: staff training and the removal of Worthey from any involvement with state contracts.
Thompson says he is cooperating with the state to meet its requirements, but said he doesn’t believe he bears any personal responsibility for the current situation.
“Can I take responsibility for 450 individuals? There’s no way. What I can take responsibility for is putting the right people in place to make sure this doesn’t happen again,” said Thompson.
Meantime, the District Attorney has confirmed it’s investigating this situation as a possible criminal matter.
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