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State ‘aware’ of complaints against COVID pop-up testing site

Published: Jan. 20, 2022 at 7:30 PM EST|Updated: Jan. 20, 2022 at 7:54 PM EST
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CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCSC) - As scrutiny turns into legal action across the nation against a Chicago-based company, the South Carolina Department of Consumer Affairs confirmed it is aware of “the situation regarding concern over possible fraudulent testing sites” in the Palmetto State.

Minnesota Attorney General Keith Ellison announced a new lawsuit against the Center for COVID Control on Wednesday. The suit alleges CCC sent false and inaccurate testing results or even failed to send them to customers at all. The company promised free testing at hundreds of locations throughout the United States, including in Charleston.

The South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control last week reported the Charleston site to the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services.

READ MORE: DHEC reports fraudulent testing at pop-up COVID testing site in Wando

“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,” Dr. Lee Fleisher, Chief Medical Officer and Director of the Center for Clinical Standards and Quality, CMS said. “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 still investigating and will “take compliance and enforcement actions as appropriate.”

The Minnesota lawsuit includes testimony from former employees who claim the company’s processing centers could not keep up as demand surged for tests. One describes “received samples being stuffed into trash bags strewn across the office floor” and accounts of management instructing staff to lie to consumers when samples had not been tested.

They say they were told to tell them they had inconclusive tests or a negative result.

A spokesman for SCDCA could not comment Thursday on whether the department was planning on taking legal action. Instead, SCDCA encourages consumers to be on guard about scams including COVID-19 testing sites and to use verified locations through DHEC or find a testing location that uses a licensed laboratory.

Consumers can report scams by contacting SCDCA at 844-TELL-DCA or online.

Meanwhile, CCC’s locations have been temporarily closed but are supposed to re-open on Saturday. It’s unclear if that is still the case.

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