HOUSTON – A Stafford medical practitioner claims a temporary COVID-19 testing site in Cypress is falsely giving out the name of her wellness center to patients awaiting their results.
“I’ve been receiving calls from patients who I have no rapport with inquiring about COVID-19 results that they are waiting on anywhere over seven, eight, nine days,” said Dionnedra Bartley, who owns Your Choice Wellness Center in Stafford.
Barley said she started receiving strange phone calls on Monday, but never tested those patients.
She said she drove to the address of the Cypress testing location the patients provided her and it took her to an obscure trailer in the 7900 block of Barker Cypress Road.
Bartley said at first, she acted like a patient before revealing her identity to the staff.
“When I told them exactly who I was, they got real confrontational,” she said. “Just wanted me off their property.”
Bartley said once she threatened to call law enforcement, a man started hauling trash bags worth of paperwork from inside the site –a trailer stationed in the parking lot of a shopping center—to the trunk of a vehicle in the lot.
“It’s definitely disheartening that these patients are seeking COVID testing over at these pods and different sites. And one, they’re not getting results back in a timely fashion. Two, they don’t know where their information is going,” she added.
Linda Almiron said she’s been waiting for her test results since last week. She returned to the site Tuesday morning to find out why it’s taking well beyond the standard 48 hours to get her results. Almiron spoke to a man who identified himself to KPRC 2 as the staff overseer and said she didn’t have success getting any answers.
“He said to wait another day or two, but that would already be like a week since I took my test,” she said.
Almiron said she feels defrauded because she shared all of her personal information when using the QR code posted around the test site to fill out a form. The trailer does not have any posted signs with a name of a licensed health care provider. Several patients said they never received a text, phone call, or email from the clinic, which makes them feel uneasy about who they may have given their personal information.
“These people are saying that they’ll get you results one to three days, and it’s a lie,” said Rosemary Perez, who has been waiting for her daughter’s test results for nearly a week. “So, here I am wondering if this place is for real or they’re just taking people’s personal information.”
Perez said she was told by the clinic’s staff on Tuesday to call Texas Diagnostic Laboratories. The mother said she tried the number several times and only got a recorded message saying the voicemail box was full. She said that leads her to further question the authenticity of the Cypress testing site.
“When you fill out that telephone form, it asks you for a social security number and it asks you for your medical information, everything, and then you don’t get a receipt. You don’t get an email. You don’t get absolutely anything from them,” she said.
An employee who identified himself as the site overseer told KPRC 2 Taisha Walker Tuesday the site is legitimate, even though there are no signs, pamphlets, a website, or the name of a licensed health care provider anywhere visible. He said that they do PCR and rapid testing both nasally and orally and would reach out to patients with their results.
“We have contact numbers for them to call and they’ll either get their results via text or email,” he said.
When KPRC 2′s Taisha Walker asked how patients can get in contact with them, he responded, “Just come up here and we’ll track down your results.”
The site was scheduled to close at 7:30 p.m. but shut down shortly before noon after reporters started asking questions.
On Wednesday, the site opened for a couple hours before shutting down. The staff left a note on the door with the number for Texas Diagnostic Laboratories for anyone looking for their test results.
KPRC 2 crews visited the west Houston location listed for Texas Diagnostic Laboratories and spoke to a man who identified himself as a doctor. He checked his system and said he had no lab records for any of the patients that had been interviewed.
“Definitely, with complete honesty. If it was in my system, I would tell you,” he said.
The doctor said his lab was HIPAA compliant and licensed and certified with CLIA.
“We don’t disclose any information for their social security or address or anything,” he added.
KPRC 2 returned to the lab on Thursday with additional names of people who visited two different testing sites located in northwest Harris County. Texas Diagnostic Laboratories was able to locate their names and some results in their system.
One woman said she received an email midday Thursday, another is still waiting, and a third said she never got her results although the lab employee said she should have received an email.
The Harris County Health Department confirmed that they do not run the Cypress site in question.
The Texas Department of State Health said it does not regulate nor register COVID testing sites.
DSHS suggested people check whether the site is associated with a licensed health care provider and check with their licensing board.