Iowa lawmakers call for investigation of Test Iowa

Medical staff administer COVID-19 tests to the public in the Iowa Events Center parking lot,...
Medical staff administer COVID-19 tests to the public in the Iowa Events Center parking lot, Tuesday, April 28, 2020, in Des Moines, Iowa. (AP Photo/Charlie Neibergall)(KCRG)
Updated: May. 28, 2020 at 2:31 PM CDT
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DES MOINES, Iowa (KCRG) - Two Democratic state lawmakers are calling for an investigation into the no-bid contract for Test Iowa.

Rep. Ruth Ann Gaines and Rep. Chris Hull requested a Government Oversight investigation into Test Iowa when the session resumes on June 3rd. The call follows several questions and issues with the rollout of the program Governor Reynolds has repeatedly touted as a tool to expand COVID-19 testing in Iowa.

It’s clear that Test Iowa failed to meet the goals outlined by Governor Reynolds. Iowa taxpayers are on the hook for $26 million and they deserve to know whether their money is being spent wisely,” the lawmakers said in the letter sent Thursday.

Governor Reynolds awarded two Utah companies a $26 million contract to operate Test Iowa. No-bid contracts are legal in Iowa under declarations of emergency, like the one in place for COVID-19.

The letter cites several documented issues with Test Iowa, including questions about the number of tests performed, the accuracy of those tests, the secrecy surrounding the tests and results, long wait times for results and faulty equipment.

Linn County and Black Hawk County have publicly raised issues with the Test Iowa program, with Black Hawk County Sheriff Tony Thompson calling it “publicity stunt”.

“If the Government Oversight Committee is unwilling to do its job, House Democrats will seek to review the contract and its implementation during the appropriations process. We trust what Iowans and local officials are communicating about their experiences with Test Iowa. If Iowans can’t get the answers they deserve regarding Test Iowa, it may be time to cancel the contract,” said the letter.

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