A suburban Chicago COVID testing company and its partner lab now finds themselves under the microscope of federal and state investigators.
The FBI served a search warrant this weekend on the Rolling Meadows headquarters for Center for COVID Control (CCC), and its lab partner, Doctors Clinical Laboratory.
News of the search warrant was first reported by USA Today.
The latest development comes as Doctors Clinical Laboratory continues to receive millions of dollars in federal funding, NBC 5 Responds found.
A spokesperson for the FBI’s Chicago division confirmed agents served the warrant on Jan. 22, 2022, but would not comment further.
Through a spokesperson, Center for COVID Control said it is cooperating with all government inquiries.
“For the past several weeks, Center for Covid Control has been in communication with a number of regulatory and law enforcement agencies regarding the company’s operations,” the company’s statement reads.
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“Although we cannot provide specific comments regarding ongoing investigations, the company intends to fully cooperate with all government inquiries, and remains committed to providing the best service possible to our patients,” a CCC spokesperson said.
Complaints and deficiencies related to CCC and Doctors Clinical Lab’s testing efforts have been growing.
The Center for Medicaid and Medicare Services (CMS) found failure after failure at Doctors Clinical Laboratory, according to a December inspection report first uncovered by Block Club Chicago.
Inspectors found test samples that “were not labeled with either a patient name or unique identifier," tests not stored at proper temperatures, and some conducted “too early or too late” for best results.
The CMS report also noted an 11-day stretch in November when the lab collected more than 84,000 swabs but failed to test nearly half of them within the required time frame due to storage problems.
Federal inspectors said CCC’s CEO, Aleya Siyaj, said Doctors Clinical Lab’s “data entry and processing staff are employees of Center for Covid Control.”
When NBC 5 Responds contacted Doctors Clinical Laboratory for comment, a staff member directed all inquiries to CCC.
But a CCC spokesperson said it is not affiliated with the lab, that it is separate from the company, despite having the same address.
“CCC is a marketing and sample collection management company for several accredited laboratories, including DCL,” the spokesperson said.
At its height, CCC owners told NBC 5 it was processing tens of thousands of tests across 22 states, all the while Doctors Clinical Laboratory was raking in more than a hundred million dollars in taxpayer money.
The funds have not slowed down, despite federal and state probes.
When the state of Minnesota filed a consumer protection lawsuit on Jan. 19, 2022 – calling the company and lab’s business practices “deceptive and misleading” – the U.S.Department of Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) reported paying Doctors Clinical Laboratory a little more than $124 million to cover tests for the uninsured.
Two days later, as the state of Illinois halted all testing operations by CCC - NBC 5 found Doctors Clinical Laboratory received an additional $17 million, bringing the total to more than $141 million.
A spokesperson for HRSA said it “reserves the right to suspend reimbursements and take corrective actions to recover funds for any provider found out of compliance with the terms and conditions of the Uninsured Program.”
The spokesperson would not comment on the status of Doctors Clinical Laboratory’s current “eligibility to participate” in the uninsured COVID-19 testing program.
A CCC spokesperson said its company is not receiving any taxpayer dollars.
“Center for Covid Control does not bill the government or any payer,” the company spokesperson said. “CCC receives no direct payment from the government or any payer. An accredited lab maintains the payer relationship to provide services for a given patient census.”
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