Did Haynes have surgery?

By Julie Fann
star staff

   Though rumors are flying that Haynes Elliott, who is in his early eighties and has served as Carter County's industrial development agent for decades, recently had a kidney removed, the truth remains shrouded in mystery.
   Richard Tester, chairman of the county's Economic Development Commission, confirmed Thursday Elliott had surgery to remove a kidney approximately two weeks ago. "Yes. As far as I know he did. He's at home now and is already working. You can call him and ask him," Tester said.
   However, Elliott denied having had the surgery when contacted at his home. "No. I'm fine. In fact, I was at a meeting all day today. Are you going to report this?" Elliott also said he didn't know why Tester would make such a comment about his health.
   County Mayor Dale Fair and Elizabethton City Manager Charles Stahl dodged statements that would confirm a hospital stay but did indicate that they "had heard" that Elliott had undergone a medical procedure.
   "It's my understanding (that he had kidney surgery) but I can't confirm it. Plus, I'll be straight with you. Even if I heard that, under these new HIPAA laws I'd hesitate to say anything ... it wouldn't be appropriate for me to elaborate on medical information that only the individuals themselves really have access to," Stahl said. The HIPAA law is federal legislation that stands for the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act and is designed to protect the privacy of patient medical records. The legislation is geared mainly toward health providers and health insurance companies and how they treat patients.
   Fair said he had been in a meeting Thursday with Elliott, TVA representatives, the state's Economic Development Commission, and a prospective client. "I'd just say it this way - he met with a group that came in and went through the whole meeting for an hour and a half. Regardless of whether he had a medical procedure, he was at work today," Fair said.
   Nearly two months ago there were also reports that Elliott also underwent heart by-pass surgery. Elliott has been the county's economic development agent since the 1960's.