Gov. Bill Lee’s Staff Declines to Offer Their Side of the Story on Controversial Nomi Health Contract


The Nashville-based NewsChannel 5 reported this week that Tennessee Gov. Bill Lee wasted millions of dollars of taxpayer money on COVID-19 testing that, ultimately, did not benefit the state.

State officials awarded the contract to Nomi Health. NewsChannel 5 reported this as a $26.5 million, no-bid contract. In their report, the station quoted several people who questioned Nomi’s credentials.

The Tennessee Star asked Lee’s office for comment and to provide their side of the story. They did not respond on either Tuesday or Wednesday.

“Over the objections of career state employees, Tennessee Health Commission Lisa Piercey steered a $26.5 million, no-bid contract to a Utah company with no health care experience – after a Republican political consultant pitched a contract to the governor’s office,” according to NewsChannel 5.

“In the end, just as the career state employees had warned, the deal collapsed – and the Lee administration paid the company almost $6 million to get out of the contract.”

NewsChannel 5 said “the beginning of the pandemic produced a huge business opportunity – even for companies with absolutely no healthcare experience.”

The station, citing emails, reported that Tony Simon, a Republican political consultant, pitched the Nomi contract to Lee’s chief of staff Blake Harris. Harris referred Simon to Tennessee Health Commissioner Lisa Piercey.

“On June 10, a formal validation report issued by the state’s health laboratory drew a line in the sand, concluding that they had ‘no confidence’ in the reliability of the Nomi test,” according to NewsChannel 5.

State officials terminated the contract and approved a $5.9 million settlement with the company.

In a statement, Piercey’s office told NewsChannel 5:

During the early weeks of the COVID-19 pandemic, the state faced unprecedented international competition for scarce testing capacity and resources such as PPE. Tennessee undertook extensive efforts to overcome global shortages and explored both traditional and innovative options to rapidly expand testing capacity for Tennesseans, including executing an agreement with Nomi Health to expand testing capacity within the state. After onboarding issues, the platform was not ultimately used to process COVID-19 labs, though the state was contractually obligated to pay for certain goods and services delivered, including test kits and certain setup costs, and the parties ended the contract by Mutual Termination Agreement.

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Chris Butler is an investigative journalist at The Tennessee Star. Follow Chris on Facebook. Email tips to [email protected]





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6 Thoughts to “Gov. Bill Lee’s Staff Declines to Offer Their Side of the Story on Controversial Nomi Health Contract”

  1. Victor Andrews

    My question for Governor Lee is: “if the Nomi contract failed why would Tennessee taxpayers have to pay to get out of it? Why wouldn’t we sue them for over promising and under delivering?”

  2. JG2284

    I hope someone can primary this guy. The left will be coming after low hanging fruit. Look where we are with the current elections, especially GA what used to be a reliably red state. If the primary fails do we really want a Democrat governor for the great state of TN? If the primary fails we will need to seriously consider a Constitution party or Libertarian candidate to rally around. We can break the 2 party system TN.

  3. Mr. Lee needs to write a check, reimbursing the state. After he signs the check, he needs to sign his resignation papers.

  4. karen bracken

    Lee MUST be a one and done Governor.

    1. Wolf Woman

      I agree, Karen. He’s been a disaster. But who’s the Republican waiting in the wings to challenge him?

  5. LM

    This shouldn’t be a surprise to anybody