By Mike Kruzman /

Unhappy with the responses to requests for information around the handling of COVID-19 in nursing care facilities, State Senator Lana Theis is spearheading a committee decision to subpoena the state health department.

The Brighton Township Republican said, in a release, that multiple requests to obtain the information that Democratic Governor Gretchen Whitmer and the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services have used to guide their pandemic handling of long-term care facilities have been denied or ignored. Theis said the administration has throughout its handling of the pandemic proclaimed and defended its reliance on science and data as a driving force for their decisions. She said the department has been less than forthcoming with these requests that have been made over the past several months.

On Thursday, the Senate Oversight Committee, of which Theis is the Vice-Chair, voted to authorize the chair to issue the subpoena.

The subpoena, in part, orders the DHHS to turn over all documents and communications related to the U.S. Department of Justice’s request for information from August 26th; all communications to or from former Director Robert Gordon, current Director Elizabeth Hertel, and Chief Medical Executive Dr. Joneigh Khaldun related to the facilities; and communications to and from those same parties with regards to orders related to temporary restrictions on entry into and enhanced protections for residents of health care, congregate care, residential, and juvenile justice facilities.

The department is ordered to turn over the information by 5pm on Thursday, May 27th.

In an email to WHMI, MDHHS Public Information Officer Lynn Sutfin said “We will comply with the documents with or without a subpoena, as we have been working towards.”