Letter from TDH Commissioner defends Dr. Fiscus for initial memo

News4 obtained documents that showed the Tennessee Department of Health defended the work of...
News4 obtained documents that showed the Tennessee Department of Health defended the work of Dr. Michelle Fiscus two months before she was fired.(WSMV)
Updated: Jul. 16, 2021 at 4:35 PM CDT
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NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WSMV) - NASHVILLE, TN (WSMV) - For the first time, we see the department that fired Dr. Michelle Fiscus defended her two months ago for the same reason she believes she was fired. Fiscus is Tennessee’s top vaccination official who was fired Monday.

This stems from a letter the TDH Commissioner, Dr. Lisa Piercey, wrote to State Representative Robin Smith.

A memo Dr. Fiscus sent to health care providers in May is where this controversy started. The email explains the Tennessee law that allows people ages 14 and older to get medical care without parental consent.

“I was provided that language, told that language was provided by the governor’s office, sorry, blessed by the governor’s office, and told I could share it however I needed to share it,” Dr. Fiscus told News4 in an interview Tuesday.

And that’s what the email chain from the chief counsel with the Tennessee Department of Health to Dr. Fiscus shows. It says, “this is forward-facing so feed free to distribute to anyone”.

But in Dr. Fiscus’ termination recommendation, her colleague, Dr. Tim Jones, wrote Fiscus wrote her own interpretation of the law and did not consult legal counsel.

And the letter Dr. Piercey wrote to State Representative Robin Smith is also raising questions about Fiscus’ termination. The letter from May was written because Smith asked for clarification about the memo Dr. Fiscus sent out.

Both the letter Dr. Piercey sent and the memo Dr. Fiscus sent clarify the law showing the TDH supported Dr. Fiscus’ initial memo. But lawmakers interpret it differently.

“I saw the response that you gave to Representative Smith and I could go on,” Representative Scott Cepicky (R-Culleoka) said in a General Assembly meeting in June. “I read the letter from Dr. Fiscus, I don’t think she’s here right now, boy I wish she was. Because she may not have said “hey, go ahead and vaccinate these kids”, but she sure said how to do it and how to get around it with the law.”

The General Assembly will discuss this at their meeting scheduled for next week.

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