SFGate.com (San Francisco) (10.23.12)
Aids Weekly Plus
West Virginia has dealt with a shortage of hepatitis C blood test kits by making an emergency purchase. On October 17, the West Virginia Department of Health and Human Resources (DHHR), Office of Laboratory Services (OLS) informed West Virginia county health officials that the department had depleted all hepatitis C testing supplies and would need to halt testing for approximately two weeks. The OLS explained that the state’s contract with the current supplier had expired earlier in the year and cited problems with the bidding process—two bids for the new contract did not meet specifications—to explain the gap.
However, on October 22, DHHR spokeswoman Marsha Dadisman announced to the Charleston Daily Mail that the state made an emergency purchase of hepatitis C testing kits on October 19, but they did not immediately inform county health departments of the purchase at the time. Emergency purchases of up to $25,000 are allowed without going through a lengthier state bidding process. The county health departments rely on DHHR to perform testing for hepatitis C and other STDs. Dadisman confirmed that with the supplies now replenished, “no specimen has gone undone.”