Some sites run by controversial COVID testing company could reopen – NBC Chicago

After weeks of revelations about the suburban Chicago COVID-19 testing company, the Center for COVID Control (CCC) said it will remain closed, but some of its testing sites may reopen under different names.

The allegations against the company and its affiliated laboratory provider Doctors Clinical Laboratory (DCL) include missing test results, flaws in collection methods and reckless testing practices. The CCC and DCL are now mired in controversy and are the subject of several active federal and state investigations.

A CCC spokesperson said on Wednesday it was allowing its local test site operators to sever ties with the main company while it handled those investigations.

The move applies to 100 or more independent operators who could choose to resume testing under different company names, working with a lab other than DCL, according to a company spokesperson.

A spokesperson told NBC 5 Responds that the company’s founders met with its independent test operators in a videoconference this week to offer them the option of being released from their contracts with the company, if the independent operators preferred to continue testing for themselves while The CCC remains closed.

On Wednesday, the spokesperson said CCC founders Aleya Siyaj and Akbar ‘Ali’ Syed, a husband-and-wife team, have pledged to reopen their business, but that would depend on inspectors’ questions and concerns being resolved. , said the spokesperson.

Several states, including Illinois, Colorado, Massachusetts and Oregon, have announced investigations into the Rolling Meadows-based COVID-19 testing company Center for COVID Control.

From December 2020, when the company’s founders first registered their business license in Illinois, until early January this year, CCC previously said its footprint had grown to 320 test sites in 22. States, with 3,000 employees.

Syed previously told NBC 5 during Omicron’s infection spike, the company went from around 8,000 tests a day to more than 80,000.

As the company’s footprint grew, so did the number of consumer complaints.

Many patients have complained that the company and its partner lab did not provide COVID-19 test results, or in some cases the companies provided results to people who had not even provided a samples.

The company attributed these issues to the recent spike in infections and staffing issues.

In the face of public backlash, the company’s founders suspended all of its testing operations on Jan. 14 for a week, to retrain its staff on clinical operations and HIPAA procedures, the company said.

Before the company had a chance to reopen, the Illinois Attorney General intervened on January 21 and announced that all CCC sites would remain closed “for the foreseeable future” as several state and federal investigations were taking place.

Amid a spike in COVID-19 infections and a nationwide shortage of testing supplies, the Minnesota Attorney General’s Office accuses a St. Charles testing company and its Rolling Meadows lab of “deceptive and misleading” practices. misleading”. Phil Rogers of NBC 5 Responds to the story.

In addition to consumer complaints — including a consumer protection lawsuit filed against the company in Minnesota — and an “F” rating from the Better Business Bureau, federal inspectors also found red flags in DCL that processed COVID-19 testing.

A report obtained by NBC 5 Responds from the Center Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) said federal inspectors found multiple failures — both in CCC’s sample collection procedures and in DCL’s handling of tests — during the inspections last November.

The report was first discovered by Block Club Chicago.

Some examples from the CMS report include a case where 51 patient samples submitted for testing had no labels or other identifying marks, meaning there was no way of knowing from whom. came from the tests.

CMS inspectors also discovered that more than 40,000 patient samples were, for the most part, rendered useless due to poor staff handling and storage protocols.

The CCC spokesperson said if the company’s independent operators chose to exit their agreements and reopen under a different name, they would have to affiliate with another lab.

A database that tracks federal government spending on COVID-19 testing for the uninsured shows taxpayers have paid DCL more than $140 million since the pandemic began.

CCC receives part of it, a CCC spokesperson said, through a “management services agreement” between CCC and DCL. The businesses share an address in Rolling Meadows, according to business records.

Last weekend, FBI agents served a search warrant at these offices.

“The FBI was conducting court-authorized law enforcement activity at Rolling Meadows [Saturday]”The FBI said. “DoJ policy prevents the FBI from commenting on the nature of any investigation that may or may not take place.”

NBC 5 Responds confirmed that the investigation included officers from the Department of Health and Human Services’ Office of Inspector General (HHS-OIG), according to spokeswoman Yvonne Gamble.

The company acknowledged the search warrant earlier this week.

“While we cannot provide specific comments regarding ongoing investigations, the Company intends to cooperate fully with all government investigations and remains committed to providing the best possible service to our patients,” CCC said in a statement. communicated.

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