State officials hired a Florida doctor to give coronavirus test results to more than 100,000 residents, despite the fact that he had been on probation by the state medical board for a decade.
Emergency management officials said pediatrician Dr. Eric Pantaleon has been fired amid complaints that thousands of coronavirus test results were delayed.
Pantaleon and his company, Medical Associates Network, were hired by the state to oversee 12 test sites, including Holiday Park in Fort Lauderdale and the Florida International University Fairgrounds.
Jared Moskowitz, director of the Florida Division of Emergency Management, said the state was aware of delays in test results. At the same time he warned that Dr. Pantaleon’s company was fired last week due to his record.
The doctor was tested in 2010 by the Florida Board of Medicine after he treated several patients inappropriately for HIV, according to records from the Florida Department of Health.
Pantaleon’s name also appeared on a list of Florida doctors who had purchased large quantities of opioids in 2019, according to records from the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration.
Residents were told to call Pantaleon if they didn’t get the results in five days, but many said their calls were never returned. So far it is unclear how the doctor’s history and background were bypassed during the hiring process.
Pantaleon did not respond to phone calls, voicemails, or emails.
The state contracts with laboratories to run test sites and uses third parties to call and give the results. Most labs, like Quest or LabCorp, process the results in two to three days, and a doctor or nurse calls to give the results.
But Genetworx Laboratories, which has processed more than 106,000 tests in Florida, was outsourced to another company, CDR Maguire, who then hired Pantaleon. That company has also terminated with Pantaleon.
“As test sites became more widely available across the state, there was a corresponding exponential increase in patient contact,” said CDR Maguire executive vice president, Tina Vida.
Since then, the company launched an online notification portal for people to verify its results, but it remained idle until Friday. Vidal said it is being updated.