Tricare which is an insurer for the United States military’s health care system accidentally sent its beneficiaries emails on Friday asking them to donate blood as ‘survivors of covid19’ for research purposes. A majority of these 600,000 people were shocked as they had never been tested but due to this Tricare error, they received the emails intended for coronavirus survivors. Only 31,000 people linked with US military have been confirmed as coronavirus positive so this email comes as a surprise to many.
Tricare later apologized to those six hundred thousand people as the email was poorly worded and implied that the person receiving the message was a Covid19 survivor. The email was sent by Humana Military which is a regional manager for Tricare and is responsible for this Tricare error.
The email read as, as a survivor of covid19 its safe to donate blood or blood plasma and your donation could help other covid19 patients. Your plasma likely has antibodies present that might help fight the coronavirus infection. It further added that as of right now there is no cure for coronavirus and there is information suggesting that plasma from covid19 survivors, like you, might be able to help some of the patients to recover more quickly from the virus.
Humana Military sent out a correction as well as an apology six hours later over the erroneous and confusing emails by stating that in an attempt to educate beneficiaries who live close to plasma donation centers about collection opportunities, they received an email incorrectly suggesting that they were a covid19 survivor. They further stated that the receivers of the email have not been identified as covid19 survivor and they apologize for the error and any confusion that it may have caused.
A spokesperson for Humana, Marvin Hill offered a statement explaining the error by saying that the language used in the emails to nearly 600,000 people gave an impression that the company was attempting to reach people who tested positive for covid19. He added that the company quickly followed the first message with an accurate and clear second message that acknowledged the mistake and apologized.
At times other health care entities have made similar errors to this Tricare error which created confusion about the person’s COVID19 status as well as about the rate of infection. At the start of July, Brock Ballou a Nashville resident said he received many calls stating that he has tested positive for covid19 but in fact, he was never tested. He said that the reporter specifically said that she was looking at the screen right there about him being positive and she also said that she called him to know of his symptoms. The discrepancy has made Ballou question the accuracy of the case count of Covid19 patients.
Likewise, the Florida State Health Department two weeks ago confirmed that some laboratories in the state are not disclosing their negative covid19 results accurately which is dramatically skewing the positive rate of coronavirus. At least two labs were found to be inflating their positivity rate of covid19 by a factor of ten.