Troubled suburban COVID testing company shut down ‘for the foreseeable future’: AG

Center for COVID Control, based in Rolling Meadows, is under investigation in multiple states amid complaints about long waits for test results, among other problems.

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A man walks by a closed Center for Covid Control Testing site, 177 W. Lake St., in the Loop.

Center for COVID Control has closed its sites, including this location at 177 W. Lake St. in the Loop, after the Illinois attorney general began investigating consumer complaints about late and possibly fraudulent test results. Authorities in other states also are investigating the firm, based in Rolling Meadows.

Tyler LaRiviere/Sun-Times file

A Rolling Meadows-based operator of some 300 “pop-up” COVID testing sites across the U.S. will shut down amid a flurry of complaints from customers and scrutiny from authorities in multiple states, Illinois Attorney General Kwame Raoul announced.

The Center for COVID Control, which incorporated in 2020 according to state records, has voluntarily suspended operations, according to a news release from Raoul’s office issued late Thursday.

“This evening, I am pleased to announce that the company’s representatives have agreed the Center for COVID Control will postpone the reopening of any pop-up testing locations in Illinois for the foreseeable future,” Raoul said in the release.

“Although the company voluntarily suspended operations, my office contacted company officials to demand that the Center for COVID Control immediately stop engaging in any fraudulent or deceptive conduct, particularly with respect to the delivery of testing results or billing.”

A statement posted to the company website Thursday said the company was extending a “pause” on operations that began last week and had been set to end Saturday.

“As previously announced, CCC is using this operational pause to train additional staff on sample collection and handling, customer service and communications best practices, as well as compliance with regulatory guidelines,” the website states.

In a previous statement, the company said it had been overwhelmed in recent months as it went from processing 8,000 tests per day to more than 80,000.

Raoul’s office opened an investigation in response to customer complaints that test results from the company arrived well outside the 48- to 72-hour maximum windows the business had advertised. Some customers said the results never arrived at all, while other people reported getting test results despite never submitting samples. Raoul said the agency’s Consumer Fraud Division interviewed former employees, who reported practices that compromised samples as well.

The company operates in multiple states and has drawn attention from authorities in Minnesota, where Attorney General Keith Ellison this week announced the state had sued the firm for consumer fraud. Regulators in Oregon and other states also are investigating the company. The Better Business Bureau has given the company an F score.

The Minnesota lawsuit alleges company officers “streamlined” their intake process in part by listing customers as uninsured rather than entering their insurance information, and that tests that arrived at an affiliated lab, Doctors Clinical Laboratory Corp., piled up in trash bags strewn about the offices, with little tracking of when they were received. Doctors Clinical Laboratory Corp. shares a corporate address with the Center for COVID Control.

The company has billed the federal government for more than $120 million for testing services. While laboratories are regulated by health officials, Raoul’s statement said no government agency monitors “pop-up” clinics.

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