A COVID-19 testing company will pay more than $20 million after being accused of faking test results, Los Angeles City Attorney Mike Feuer announced Thursday.
Feuer announced that Los Angeles-based national COVID-testing chain Sameday Health had reached a settlement worth $22.5 million over allegations that the company forged COVID-19 test results and engaged in false advertising and insurance fraud.
The city attorney’s office announced a second, $3.9 million settlement with an LA-based doctor that Feuer claimed was a partner in alleged insurance fraud tied to Sameday Health.
“We’ve intervened to protect consumers in numerous major COVID-related matters, but this may be the most significant consumer protection case to emerge from the pandemic,” Feuer said.
Sameday Health, which operates 55 testing locations nationwide, was accused of faking test results for at least 500 customers by allegedly changing the information on previously used PDF lab reports, according to the city attorney’s office.
In some instances, the tests were never processed by a lab before a negative result was delivered, Feuer’s office claimed.
“It’s beyond outrageous that anyone would falsify COVID tests, as we allege happened here,” Feuer said of the allegations. “If you get a negative test, you assume it’s safe to go to work, visit family and friends, or take a vacation. But the victims of this alleged scheme might unknowingly have spread COVID to others or failed to receive timely and appropriate care themselves.”
Feuer added that he had recently recovered from the disease himself.
“I just got over COVID myself and know how essential it is to have accurate test results,” he added.
As part of the settlement, Sameday Health and its CEO Felix Huettenbach agreed to pay more than $9.5 million in restitution and nearly $13 million in civil penalties, the city attorney’s office said. The company is now required to hire an independent monitor to oversee test results.
“Sameday Health was founded in September 2020 in an effort to make fast, reliable, Covid testing available to everyone. In the early days, amidst the chaos of massive surges in demand for services, and shortages in supplies, we failed to meet the standards for excellence our customers deserve,” Sameday Health said in a statement.
“We have corrected the problems that arose back in 2020 and have made significant investments in compliance and systems to ensure that we meet our customers’ expectations. We agreed to settle with the City Attorney and the LA District Attorney in order to move forward and to allow the 1200 men and women of Sameday to place their focus on providing top-level service to the communities we serve.”