Embattled COVID Testing Company Received $123 Million From Feds

The state has received zero test results from the company or the lab it runs, Doctors Clinical Laboratory.

Center for Covid Control, the COVID-19 testing company that’s under investigation by the Oregon Department of Justice, received $123 million from a federal government program that reimburses companies for offering tests to uninsured people. It did so by billing the feds from a lab it operates in Illinois, Doctors Clinical Laboratory.

The staggering figure, available via a public database, was first reported by independent journalist Michael Figueroa and was picked up in a story by USA Today. The company offered both PCR tests and rapid tests at 300 locations, including three in the Portland metro area.

The Oregon Health Authority told WW last week that it had received no test results from Center for Covid Control or Doctors Clinical Laboratory. All testing facilities are required to report results to local health authorities.

Within the past two weeks, Center for Covid Control has come under intense scrutiny in a dozen states for potentially fraudulent practices. Reports from other states, including Florida, Texas and Illinois, include allegations of improper testing practices and results that showed up before tests were taken.

The federal program, which initially disbursed $2 billion and is now taking funds from the American Rescue Plan Act, among other sources, reimburses labs $100 for a PCR test. The program is run by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ Health Resources and Services Administration, or HRSA.

Last week, WW asked United Healthcare, the insurance company cutting checks for labs under the federal program, whether it had reimbursed Center for Covid Control or Doctors Clinical Laboratory for any tests. The insurance giant had not gotten back to WW by Monday morning.

Of the $123 million that DCL received from the feds, $9 million was attributed to “treatment” in the database.

In the Portland area, the company operated three locations until the company announced it was closing all of its locations nationwide amid “staffing shortages.”

One of the local testing sites was a drab storefront in the Hollywood neighborhood of Northeast Portland; one was a mobile shed plunked in a parking lot of a convenience store in Johnson Creek; and the third was another shed in a parking lot in Tigard. The owners of the two properties in Portland could not be reached last week by WW.

The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services, which oversees certified labs and testing sites, is conducting an investigation into DCL and CCC. A spokesman in the federal agency’s Seattle office, Tony Rosa, told WW on Friday that until “a survey has been completed and the laboratory has the opportunity to respond to any findings, there are no reports to release.”