Former TN Dept of Health Commissioner Piercey Joins ETSU Board of Trustees (Op-Ed)

Image Credit: Jimmy Emerson, DVM / CC / TN Department of Health

By Danielle Goodrich [Tri-Cities Area Director of Tennessee Stands] –

Across the country parental rights are under attack.

We see this push in schools with transition drugs given to children without parental consent, with school boards masking children, with schools teaching Marxist Critical Race Theory, with books which would classify as pornography in school libraries, with drag show story hours, and in hospitals and at healthcare providers with the push to medicate, inject and treat minors without parental consent. 

There is no denying that the government has grown increasingly intrusive into the lives of individuals and families. 

And to make matters worse you have U.S. Attorney General Merrick Garland purportedly labeling parents who speak out, “domestic terrorists.”

In June of 2021, Tennessee’s then Health Commissioner Lisa Piercey drew sharp criticism for this very thing.  

Piercey and The Tennessee Health Department were accused of marketing to minors and the GOP led Government Operations committee was rightly concerned with the strategy of circumventing parents. 

Sen. Kerry Roberts, R-Springfield, told Piercey, “It looks like there is a mission here, an agenda here to have children vaccinated with or without parental consent.”

The Government Operations committee made it clear this was a punishable offense and threatened to defund and dissolve the Board of Health if this type of communication to minors continued. 

The issue came to a head after Dr. Michelle Fiscus, head of immunology in Piercey’s department, sent a letter to “vaccination partners” discussing emergency use authorization of the Pfizer vaccine for children 12 and under. Fiscus was fired. But Piercey remained until May of this year when she resigned. 

Now East Tennessee State University (ETSU) has added Piercey as one of their Board of Trustees. 

Perhaps this wouldn’t raise any eyebrows unless you knew the above and you read our recent story about ETSU’s Rule Hearing which included a not widely publicized public hearing on mandates. The public surprised ETSU lawyers when a dozen concerned citizens including parents and students, showed up in person, with dozens more online, to participate in the hearing. 

According to Mark Fulks, University Counsel & Chief Compliance Officer and Harden Scragg, Staff Attorney, no one typically attends the rule hearings. The citizens in attendance suggested it was because no one knew about them. 

The Rules Hearing was to allow the University the ability to mandate epidemic vaccines. All testimonies heard were against the University’s ability to mandate. 

I was present at the meeting and asked if the testimonies would be forwarded to Government Operations and the Board of Trustees, but was told only a summary would be sent. I found this insufficient and Harden Scragg recommended I could FOIA request the meeting. 

I did, and forwarded the testimonies to Government Operations and the Board of Trustees. Government Operations, the same one which Piercey testified before. And the Board of Trustees, on which she will now sit. 

Along with the FOIA request of the Board of Trustee meetings surrounding the Rule to Mandate, was also notes from meetings surrounding the relationship the University has with Ballad Healthcare, the largest regional healthcare monopoly in the country, which happens to have locations in Northeast Tennessee. 

The notes stated “Ballad cannot reach its goals without being an academic health sciences center, and ETSU is the vehicle to make that happen. Chair Latimer also indicated that Ballad’s stated support for ETSU was a deciding factor in passage of the COPA.” 

Ballad has a COPA (Certificate of Public Advantage) which was granted by the state. 

The FTC warned against the merger of the two healthcare systems and the creation of the COPA as they warned monopolizing the region’s healthcare would drive up prices and drive down quality. The legislature passed it anyway. 

Ballad and the COPA have recently been under fire as they tried to lobby the legislature to deny Karing Hearts Cardiology the ability to build a cath lab. After hundreds of letters of support David beat Goliath. Karing Hearts won against Ballad and received the CON (Certificate of Need). 

Tennessee Stands and I helped advocate for support of Karing Hearts Cardiology.

No business should be blocked from entering a free and fair market. Can you have a free country without a free market? Should the legislature be able to deny or approve businesses from entering a free market?

With Piercey, accused of skirting Parental Consent, now on the Board of a University looking to change the rules to allow them the ability to vaccinate, backed by the largest Healthcare monopoly in the country, what could go wrong?

Socialized medicine with no choice anyone? 

One thought on “Former TN Dept of Health Commissioner Piercey Joins ETSU Board of Trustees (Op-Ed)

  • October 24, 2022 at 1:20 am

    Glad she is gone from TN government. Just another bad choice by Lee. Now she will attempt to wreak havoc on the schools.


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