Falsified STD records lead to criminal investigation in Dallas health department

Falsified STD records lead to criminal investigation in Dallas health department
The Dallas County District Attorney's Office has launched a criminal investigation in a case that raises questions about an office that handles some of the most sensitive information imaginable -- the identities of people with STDs. (photo courtesy KXAS)
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A stunning criminal investigation is underway inside the Dallas County (Texas) Health Department after state investigators found health department workers fudging numbers to make it look like the county was doing a better job of tracking down people who may have been exposed to sexually transmitted diseases.

Meanwhile, the sexually transmitted disease program is actually lagging behind when it comes to contacting and examining those who may have actually been exposed to syphilis.

When someone tests positive for an STD, the county health department is supposed to help locate the person's previous sexual contacts and let them know they may be at risk. Investigators with the Texas Health and Human Services Commission Office of Inspector General (OIG) believe a Dallas County Health Department supervisor directed employees to falsely boost the numbers since the health department was not meeting state goals for contacting people potentially exposed to syphilis.

Our NBC station in Dallas-Fort Worth obtained documents showing the OIG found two Dallas County Health Department employees "admitted to entering false data" into the state's STD Management Information System at the direction of Lashonda Worthey, the manager of the county's HIV-STD program.

State investigators discovered workers "entered the names of individuals into non-related case files to increase the agency's performance numbers."

Investigators found the workers took names of people who tested negative and listed them as past sexual contacts in the files of people who tested positive for syphilis. This made it look like they had identified the person's past contacts, but really the names they were inserting in the files had nothing to do with the person who tested positive.

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