For the first time, the federal government officially confirms it is investigating laboratories and testing sites associated with the Center for COVID Control, the company at the center of a WINK News investigation.
WINK News confirmed that the company and one of its labs, Doctors Clinical Laboratory, sent test results to people before taking the COVID-19 test. However, the man claiming to run the test site at their Bonita Springs location claimed it was just a computer glitch.
The Center for Covid Control (CCC) also has sites in Cape Coral and at the Edison Mall in Fort Myers, plus 272 others locations nationwide.
As part of the investigation, right now, the feds are following the money.
USA Today reports CCC has already collected $124 million from the federal government’s COVID-19 uninsured program. And the company also does business with private insurance companies.
On Friday, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) confirmed in an emailed statement to WINK News that it is aware of “Several alleged instances of misconduct by the company’s labs.”
In an 81 page report, CMS confirms the lab it’s investigating is Doctors Clinical Laboratory, the same one used by CCC at its test sites locally. CMS has documented numerous “Deficiencies” within the lab.
Among them was; not having enough laboratory personnel to “accurately perform patient COVID PCR testing in accordance with the manufacturer’s testing instructions within 72 hours after collection by not having freezers to correctly store patient COVID PCR samples at -70 degrees Celsius which resulted in the inability to test 41,196 patient test samples within the 72-hour time frame,” the report states.
Dr. Lee Fleisher, Chief Medical Officer and Director of Center for Clinical Standards and Quality for CMS, said in a statement:
“We take seriously any allegations of fraud or misbehavior by COVID-19 testing sites. CMS’s Center for Clinical Standards and Quality investigates these kinds of complaints and is aware of several alleged instances of misconduct by this company’s labs. We know that people want to feel confident that the testing sites they visit are reputable and the results they receive are accurate.
“CMS is actively investigating numerous complaints about multiple laboratories and testing sites associated with the Center for COVID Control. It is our understanding that the Center for COVID Control voluntarily suspended its operations through January 22. CMS continues our investigations and will take compliance and enforcement actions as appropriate.”
The Center for Covid Control paused operations nationwide a week ago on January, 14, to retrain its people and roll out new procedures, with the plan to reopen for business on Saturday.
Whether that will happen remains to be seen.
We previously reported the Cape Coral location appears to be closed for good.
Reporter Michael Hudak will be there Saturday to see if the Bonita and Edison Mall locations do indeed reopen.
So far, no one at the Center for Covid Control or Doctors Clinical Laboratory has returned any calls from WINK News for comment.
Consumers may access the CMS CLIA Laboratory Demographic Information Tool then navigate to the S&C’s Quality, Certification and Oversight Reports (QCOR) to find a CLIA certified laboratory. You can search by laboratory name or geography (e.g., California). This website provides a listing of CLIA laboratories and other facilities that are certified to perform laboratory testing as of the Data Source Date listed.
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