Fact check: Colorado candidate is a veterinarian as well as a hospital physical therapist

·3 min read

The claim: Colorado congressional candidate Debby Burnett says she works on the COVID-19 floor at a hospital but is a veterinarian

On July 27, congressional candidate Debby Burnett tweeted about her experience working on a COVID-19 floor at a hospital.

The Colorado Democrat encouraged people to get vaccinated and asked for donations to her campaign against incumbent Republican Rep. Lauren Boebert.

But some social media users questioned Burnett's hospital credentials.

“She’s a veterinarian,” claims a widely shared image of Burnett’s tweet, shared in an Aug. 1 Facebook post that was later deleted.

"Debby Burnett(D), Claims Her Hospital Is Full of COVID Patients and Blames Low Vaxx Rates in Viral Post – Turns Out She’s a Veterinarian," says an Aug. 2 Facebook post.

Burnett is a veterinarian, but she is also a licensed physical therapist at a Wyoming hospital.

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USA TODAY reached out to the Facebook user who posted the claim for comment.

Rep. Lauren Boebert, R-Colo., speaks during a news conference, Wednesday, May 12, 2021, expressing opposition to "critical race theory," during a news conference on Capitol Hill in Washington. (AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin) ORG XMIT: DCJM126
Rep. Lauren Boebert, R-Colo., speaks during a news conference, Wednesday, May 12, 2021, expressing opposition to "critical race theory," during a news conference on Capitol Hill in Washington. (AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin) ORG XMIT: DCJM126

Burnett works in hospital COVID-19 unit as a physical therapist

State and hospital records and Burnett's campaign all confirm she is a licensed physical therapist working in a hospital.

Burnett's LinkedIn profile indicates she has worked as a physical therapist at the Cheyenne Regional Medical Center in Cheyenne, Wyoming, since January 2011. Also, according to LinkedIn, she is from Walden, Colorado – roughly two hours from the hospital.

In response to criticism, Burnett clarified her role at the hospital in an Aug. 1 tweet.

“To all the Boebert supporters asking why a veterinarian works on the COVID floor of a hospital – I am also a licensed Physical Therapist who has worked at my hospital for over 11 years,” she wrote. “My hospital, like most nationwide, have PT's on their COVID floors helping patients recover.”

Hillary Hardy, marketing and communications director for the hospital, confirmed Burnett works in its COVID-19 units.

"When working she is someone who rotates on our COVID units," Hardy wrote. "PTs are part of patient care."

A medevac helicopter lands on the roof of the Cheyenne Regional Medical Center in downtown Cheyenne, Wyoming, on Nov. 16, 2020.
A medevac helicopter lands on the roof of the Cheyenne Regional Medical Center in downtown Cheyenne, Wyoming, on Nov. 16, 2020.

According to the Wyoming Board of Physical Therapy’s list of active licensees , Burnett has had her Wyoming physical therapy license since April 11, 2007.

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Porter Bennett, Burnett's campaign manager, told USA TODAY Burnett has worked in COVID-19 units since the start of the pandemic.

Burnett also continues to work as a veterinarian focusing mainly on recovery work, Bennett said. She started her veterinary practice, Healing Springs Veterinary Care, in 2004 in Cowdrey, Colorado.

Our rating: Missing context

The claim that Burnett says she works on the COVID-19 floor at a hospital but is actually a veterinarian is MISSING CONTEXT, based on our research, because without additional information it is misleading. Multiple sources confirm Burnett is a veterinarian as well as a physical therapist in a Cheyenne hospital's COVID-19 units.

Our fact-check sources:

  • Debby Burnett for Colorado, July 27, Tweet

  • Debby Burnett via LinkedIn, accessed Aug. 3, Debby Burnett profile

  • Hillary Hardy, Aug. 2, Email exchange and phone interview with USA TODAY

  • Wyoming Board of Physical Therapy, accessed Aug. 3, List of Active Licensees

  • Porter Bennett, Aug. 3, Email and phone interview with USA TODAY

  • Debby Burnett for Colorado, Aug. 1, Tweet

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This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: Fact check: Boebert opponent Burnett is a hospital physical therapist

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