Department of Health termination letters say Dr. Fiscus lacked leadership

A copy of the termination letter sent to Dr. Michelle Fiscus by the Tennessee Department of...
A copy of the termination letter sent to Dr. Michelle Fiscus by the Tennessee Department of Health.(WSMV)
Updated: Jul. 15, 2021 at 6:15 PM CDT
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NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WSMV) - News4 obtained documents from the Tennessee Department of Health showing why Dr. Michelle Fiscus, the top vaccine official in the state, was fired.

Dr. Fiscus says she was fired for putting out information saying adolescents 14 and older can get vaccinated without parental consent.

News4 received three documents from the Tennessee Department of Health. One of those is the termination letter from Commissioner Dr. Lisa Piercey on July 12, 2021. The other is the recommendation of termination dated July 9, 2021.

In Dr. Fiscus’ termination letter, TDH Commissioner, Dr. Lisa Piercey, Jones says the firing is “based on program management deficiencies and failure to follow appropriate processes and procedures”.

The recommendation of termination includes dates and incidents involving Dr. Fiscus, which emphasize her “lack of effective leadership”.

In December 2020, they say “repeated failures by Dr. Fiscus to appropriately delegate to others resulted in repetitive, long, and inefficient meetings. These meetings took already busy colleagues away from other tasks”.

In May 2021, regarding the Mature Minor Doctrine, the letter states “Dr. Fiscus broadly shared a letter regarding her own interpretation of state and federal law with external partners with respect to vaccination and other medical treatment to minors. The letter should have been reviewed by both leadership and department legal counsel.”

News4 also received a copy of some evaluations from her Dr. Fiscus’ personnel file from 2019 to 2020 completed by her manager, John Dunn. These evaluations do not include what was stated in the termination recommendation, which included incidents from December 2020 to the present.

But in the evaluations from November 2019 they say, “Dr. Fiscus has been a strong leader for the VPD team and has been an integral piece of the COVID pandemic response. Her leadership and efforts in multiple areas have been critical”.

Another portion of the evaluation says, “Dr. Fiscus has exceeded expectations for this work outcome. Her efforts to maintain programmatic activities have been notable. She has been a key contributor and leader for the C19 response. Her work in balancing the upcoming flu and C19 vaccine planning has been excellent. Dr. Fiscus has met and exceeded all objectives in this work outcome.”

In Dr. Fiscus’ termination letter, it says she will receive compensation for 14 days but was not told to report to work during that time.

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