An Illinois-based COVID-19 testing company and its laboratory is facing lawsuits from two different states as well as investigations from several state and federal authorities after patient and employee complaints brought to light a number of problems.
The Center for COVID Control, LLC, and its lab, Doctors Clinical Laboratory, Inc., is facing lawsuits in both Minnesota (filed Jan. 19) and Washington (filed Jan. 31) for a number of infractions, with the key issues centering on providing delayed or inaccurate COVID-19 test results to customers or failing to provide them at all, according to statements from both attorney general’s offices.
USA TODAY reports the center was receiving 80,000 tests per day across its 300 locations.
In addition to the issues around test results, the Center for COVID Control is also accused of:
- Unethical business practices, such as asking employees to regularly lie to patients about their test results
- False advertising for making claims that patients would receive test results much faster than they actually did
- Health care fraud for reportedly marking insured patients as “uninsured” and billing the federal government $124 million for those patients
- Not following proper procedures for managing patient samples
- Not having a license to operate a business in some of the municipalities its 300 testing sites were located in
In the case of patient samples, the company apparently stashed the samples in garbage bags for over a week instead of refrigerating them and backdated sample collection dates so those stale samples would still be processed and billed to insurance companies. This resulted in many positive tests coming back negative, putting the public at risk, according to the press release from the Washington State Office of the Attorney General.
The company and its lab, which is also based in Illinois, are also being investigated by the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) regarding these issues, according to media reports. USA TODAY reported that the FBI searched the company’s Rolling Meadows, Illinois, headquarters on Jan. 22, though no further details have been released.
While media reports said that the Center for COVID Control had initially closed some of its testing locations, it is unclear whether any are still operating or have reopened. The company’s website is currently inaccessible.
Look for a more in-depth report on this story in an upcoming monthly briefing.