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18 Sep 13 LabCorp Accused of Medicaid Fraud in Virginia

LabCorp (Laboratory Corporation of America Holdings) has been hit with a whistle-blower federal lawsuit alleging the laboratory services company defrauded Virginia’s Medicaid program by billing it at much higher rates than other customers, according to a recently unsealed complaint filed in federal court on September 9th.

Laboratory Corporation of America Labcorp Medicaid FraudRelators Hunter Laboratories LLC and its founder Chris Riedel contend that LabCorp made false claims for payment of Medicaid-covered laboratory tests by claiming that the fees they charged to Medicaid were no higher that the maximum allowed under Virginia regulations.

As a participating Medicaid provider, LabCorp is required to provide services to Medicaid patients at their most favorable rates, but they repeatedly defrauded Medicaid by billing the program for fees well in excess of their lowest costs, according to the complaint.

For example, LabCorp, the Relators say, provided volume-based discounts to members of the Premier Inc. purchasing collective, resulting in discounted fees that are way below what LabCorp has billed to Medicaid.

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“This suit calls defendants to answer for defrauding Virginia’s taxpayers and compromising the welfare of Medicaid beneficiaries,” the Relators said.

Additionally, for some tests, rates for private customers have been discounted well below costs, but LabCorp nevertheless has an interest in keeping those rates low in order to prevent any other laboratories from gaining a piece of the market, according to the complaint.

“In other words, by using the publicly funded Medicaid program to subsidize private discounts, the larger and better established laboratories have cornered much of the market for themselves,” the complaint said.

The suit alleges violations of the Virginia Fraud Against Taxpayers Act. The Relators are seeking civil penalties and treble damages.

Representatives for LabCorp did not immediately respond to requests for comment on Wednesday.

Riedel and Hunter have won big in cases against LabCorp before. In 2011, LabCorp agreed to pay $49.5 million to settle a California lawsuit alleging it illegally overcharged Medi-Cal for laboratory tests and gave kickbacks in exchange for Medi-Cal referrals.

The suit originated with a qui tam complaint also filed in 2005 Riedel and Hunter alleging that LabCorp and others had systematically overcharged Medi-Cal over a 15-year period. In March 2009, then-California Attorney General Jerry Brown announced that the state had intervened in the suit.

 

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01 Aug 13 LabCorp Computer with Personal Patient Information is Stolen

LabCorp Computer Stolen

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LabCorp notified the Maryland Attorney General’s Office that a computer had been stolen and that there was a security breach of patient information. The computer was stolen from one of its facilities in North Carolina and it contained patient names, dates of birth, and Medicare subscriber numbers.

LabCorp’s notification states that they notified law enforcement, but they failed to state when the theft actually occurred. And although they disclosed that 115 Maryland residents had data on the computer, they do not report the total amount of how many patients’ personal information was on the stolen computer.

Under the Federal HIPAA (Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996) laws, there is the Privacy Rule, a Federal law which gives patients the rights over their health information and sets limits on who can look at and receive such information. The Privacy Rule applies to all forms of protected health information, whether electronic, written, or oral.

The information protected is:

  • Information your doctors, nurses, and other health care providers put in your medical record
  • Conversations your doctor has about your care or treatment with nurses and others
  • Information about you in your health insurer’s computer system
  • Billing information about you at your clinic
  • Most other health information about you.

In this case, LabCorp failed to maintain your information properly protected and those who stole the computer from the LabCorp center are able to look at it, pass it on to others and even post it on the internet. To see if  your information was on that computer, call the main LabCorp Headquarters by contacting them through email at privacyofficer@labcorp.com, calling LabCorp at (877) 234-4722 / (877-23-HIPAA) and asking for the LabCorp HIPAA Privacy Officer, or by sending a written request to: HIPAA Privacy Officer, LabCorp, 531 South Spring Street, Burlington, NC 27215.

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28 Jul 13 Labcorp Scamming Federal Government

LabCorp ScamAndrew Baker, the former CEO of Unilab and current CEO of Huntington Life Sciences, has written an article for The Huffington Post in which he asks the federal government to stop LabCorp and another lab company from continuing to scam the Medicare and Medicaid programs of billions of dollars.

Mr. Baker had previously filed a whistleblower lawsuit against LabCorp in 2007 alleging that LabCorp violated the federal False Claims Act and Anti-Kickback Statutes.  Those case is still in court.

In the article he estimates that LabCorp and the other lab have cost taxpayers $15 billion since 1996 in the form of false claims stemming from illegal kickbacks to Aetna, Cigna, United Healthcare and Blue Cross.

The claims are that Labcorp is breaking federal laws by deeply discounting lab fees to private insurance companies, sometimes charging them for laboratory tests even below their costs. In exchange, the insurance companies pressure doctors in their networks to send all of their patients’ lab work, including Medicare and Medicaid patients, to LabCorp.

He claims that Labcorp funds the kickbacks, in the form of lower lab fees for private insurance companies, by charging Medicare and Medicaid patients the highest possible fee instead of offering them the lowest charged price, and by pressuring doctors to send all of their lab work exclusively to Labcorp. Other categories in Medicaid and Medicare require that the government be charged the lowest charged fees by a provider.

Mr. Baker also mentions LabCorp’s $50 million settlement with the state of California for overcharging California’s Medicaid program and for providing kickbacks to physicians for referrals.

As a result of his article, pressure is increasing for government intervention in laboratory pricing for government programs.  He advocates for clarification of the intent of current federal law that would require laboratories to charge Medicare and Medicaid their “best price”, just as California has already done.  This would require that Laboratory Corporation of America can only charge Medicare and Medicaid the lowest price they charge private insurance companies or HMOs. Which in turn means a massive hit to Labcorp’s bottom line. It would also open up the market to smaller labs which don’t have the multi-tier, lower than cost pricing intended to put them out of business. Such a hit to Labcorp’s financials would tumble their stock (NYSE: LH).

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15 Jan 12 LabCorp Under Investigation for Medicaid and Medicare Fraud

LabCorp Medicaid and Medicare FraudLabCorp has been sued and is under Federal investigation for Medicaid and Medicare fraud.  In addition, it’s under scrutiny by the U.S. Senate Finance Committee who is investigating Medicare and Medicaid fraud. Laboratory Corporation of America was ordered to hand over its financial records to the U.S. Senate.

A lawsuit was filed on behalf of the Federal government that claims LabCorp operated a “pull-through” scheme to force doctors covered by insurers to use LabCorp for all medical testing viagra uk buy. The suit claims LabCorp (NYSE: LH) offered illegal discounts to doctors in exchange for referring all their patients who need laboratory testing to the company.  According to federal anti-kickback laws, it’s illegal for health care companies to directly or indirectly compensate other parties to encourage them to order any service paid for by the federal health care programs.

Under federal law, companies can’t charge or participate in the Medicare or Medicaid program if they violate federal laws. The suit claims LabCorp charged Medicaid and Medicare more than $1 billion, which is about 20% of the companies total income. If LabCorp is found guilty they will not be allowed to conduct lab tests on anyone covered by Medicaid and Medicare, which is a large portion of LabCorps testing income.

On other news, LabCorp secured a new credit line of $1 billion. What a coincidence.

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10 Jul 11 LabCorp and Supervisor Charged With Discrimination

Discrimination at LabCorpLabCorp is being sued for allegedly violating the civil rights of an employee who complained about a supervisor’s racial remarks.

James Litomisky filed suit against Laboratory Corp. of America on June 27 in federal court of New Orleans. In the lawsuit, Litomisky argues he was terminated from his employment with LabCorp in retaliation for his objecting to, opposing, and refusing to cooperate with LabCorp’s discrimination against its employees with respect to the terms and conditions of their employment on the basis of their race.

Specifically, Litomisky alleges his supervisor made racist remarks regarding African American LabCorp employees. He objected to this language and complained to the human resource department. He was told the employees who were the butt of the racial comments must file complaints in writing on the proper forms for any action to be taken.

Less than a month later, he was placed on a performance improvement plan, allegedly in retaliation for his complaints about the discriminatory behavior. Litomisky also argues that his supervisor directed him to falsify quarterly performance management reviews of two African-American employees so that his supervisor could terminate them. Initially, he complied with the directive, but the next day he informed human resources of the incident and corrected the reviews. He was terminated from his position in October 2010, the lawsuit says.

The defendant is accused of violating the Louisiana Human Rights Act and the Louisiana Whistleblower Act. The plaintiff is seeking damages for back pay, reinstatement or in lieu of reinstatement, front pay, compensatory damages including medical expenses, pecuniary damages, damages for emotional distress, lost wages and benefits, punitive damages and attorney’s fees.

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27 Jun 10 LabCorp Mixes Up Patient Samples

LabCorp Mistakes Saliva SamplesLabCorp was blamed by genetic testing company 23andMe of mixing up samples of as many as 96 patients. According to 23andMe in a post on their community board, as a result of LabCorp mixing up patient saliva samples, patients “may have received and viewed data that was not their own”. They further posted that “Upon learning of the mix-ups, we immediately identified all customers potentially affected, notified them of the problem, and removed the data from their accounts.”

LabCorp “is now concurrently conducting an investigation and re-processing the samples of the affected customers,” 23andMe told its customers. As a result, 23andMe is “deliberating” …on… “completely automating the sample analysis, and implementing further checks of the data before it gets loaded into customer accounts.” Reading between the lines, it appears that the company no longer has faith in LabCorp’s test results. Based on my personal experiences and that of those posting on this site, LabCorp always claims to be investigating the matter when something goes wrong. I have yet to see something come out of any of their investigations and wonder if they’ll actually do something about it this time.

23andMe LabCorp Mistake Problem23andMe is a retail DNA testing service provider that is partially owned by Internet giant Google. They provide the patient a test kit. The patient then collects their own saliva samples and the company sends it to LabCorp for DNA testing. LabCorp provides the results to 23andMe who then provides the results to the patient through their website. They claim that they do not provide medical advice to their patients. 23andMe has recently and suddenly become a target of an investigation by Congress.  As a result, the company announced that it will soon begin providing genetic counseling to new and existing customers.

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08 Mar 10 LabCorp Under Investigating by the U.S. Department of Labor

Department Of Labor Compalint Against LabCorpThe United States Department of Labor is investigating Labcorp for not being in compliance with their affirmative action plan and for discriminating against certain sectors of the population. In a recent letter received by LabCorp Sucks from a former employee, the U.S. Department of Labor, Employment Standards Administration’s Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs requested that their Jacksonville, Florida office consider the allegations made by the former employee when conducting future compliance evaluations of Laboratory Corporation of America.

If Laboratory Corporation of America (LabCorp) is found to not be in compliance and fails to correct the problems, they can be sanctioned and could even be restricted from participating in the Medicaid and Medicare program, two major income sources for the Laboratory company. LabCorp can also be prohibited from participating in other government programs, including the CHAMPUS program (The Civilian Health and Medical Program of the Uniformed Services) that provides laboratory services to government employees, and to Veterans Administration program beneficiaries. LabCorp currently contracts with all these government programs to provide reference laboratory services to program participants. Since many HMOs that serve the beneficiaries of these federal programs also contract with LabCorp, the HMOs would also be restricted from using LabCorp. The loss in business could be in the hundreds of millions and could be catastrophic to LabCorp stock (NYSE: LH).

LabCorp’s discrimination problems have been well known to company insiders. The company has various lawsuits pending and has had to settle others by paying out millions. In a recent Florida case, LabCorp even had to fire the law firm representing them after accusations of obstruction of justice by the firm.

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16 Feb 10 LabCorp Reports Profits But Its Future Remains Cloudy

Laboratory Corporation of America (LabCorp – New York Stock Exchange Symbol LH) recently reported an increase in fourth-quarter net earnings to $142.7 million, as compared to $118.1 million for the 4th quarter of 2008. The increase in earning were due partly to a gain of $21.5 million from resolving state tax issues and realizing foreign tax credits.

LabCorp’s total revenues for the fourth quarter rose to $1.17 billion, up from $1.12 billion the year before. For the full year, the company had profits of $543.3 million, up from earnings of $464.5 million in 2008. The increase also includes all the income from the labs that Labcorp has acquired.

LabCorp CEO Dave KingLabcorp also announced that it will be spending $250 Million to buy back shares of their own stock. Labcorp’s Chairman and CEO David King said “ We remain optimistic about the growth opportunities that lie ahead for us in 2010, and we are well positioned to capitalize on them.”  I highlight the word lie because while he was making the statement, he was filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission that he had just sold shares of LabCorp stock and pocketed over $171,960 in profits. You would think that when the head of a company announces positive results and claims to be “optimistic about the growth opportunities” he would be buying stock, not selling it. But then he owns lots of LabCorp stock and could have sold for other reasons.

US Department of Labor Investigation of LabCorpOne thing that LabCorp CEO David P. King didn’t boast about is that of a rumored investigation of LabCorp by the US Department of Labor, Employment Standards Administration, Office of Federal Contract Compliance Program. According to posts in CafePharma.com, LabCorp’s Florida operations are in trouble. They had to settle an employment lawsuit at a rumored cost of about $2.7 Million. In addition, they have a pending Federal lawsuit from a former employee that has not gone too well for them. With allegations of witness tampering and obstruction of justice, LabCorp has had to fire the law firm that was handling the case. The posts include the following:

OFCCP would like to hear from those who have been discriminated against based on a protected characteristic. (personal info removed) A formal recommendation has been made for an investigation of LCA Florida. Those who aren’t afraid to get their hands dirty, write:

US Department of Labor
Employment Standards Administration
Office of Federal Contract Compliance Program
Charles E Bennett Federal Building
400 West Bay Street
Room 939
Jacksonville, Florida 32202

or call:

(904) 351-0551

SUBJECT: LABCORP CONDUCT IN FLORIDA.

 All correspondence is confidential. 

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21 Nov 09 LabCorp Getting More Government Money

Just last month, LabCorp reported that they made $131.4 Million dollars in profit for the latest quarter, on revenue of $1.19 Billion. That was a 17% increase in profits as compared to the same quarter last year. Obviously LabCorp stock (NYSE: LH) went up to a new yearly high and all the senior executives high-fived each other.

North Carolina Property of LabcorpWell that was last month. Just a few days ago Labcorp went to the state and local governments in North Carolina for a handout of taxpayer money.  LabCorp wants to consolidate its billing operations and if it selects Greensboro as the location of the new facility, it would receive nearly $900,000 in taxpayer money. That’s free money from the taxpayers that will never be repaid.

The Burlington-based company is reportedly considering moving its billing operations from 24 sites across the country to one location in Greensboro or in Danville, Virgina. On Thursday, Guilford County commissioners approved giving the company $248,791 of tax payers money. The city of Greensboro also is offering $373,000. North Carolina would grant Labcorp $275,000 of taxpayer money. That’s a total payoff of $896,791 of taxpayer’s money. The excuse the elected officials are using is North Carolina’s unemployment rate, which is up to 11% and above the national average. This is the ninth straight month the state’s unemployment rate has reached double digits. So what is the government doing handing out free money to a company that just made over $131 Million in the last three months?

So as I see it, a cash strapped state, county and city have decided to payoff LabCorp, a company that made over $131 Million in profits over the last three months, to move their billing operations to their region. It is obvious that LabCorp threatened to move the operation to Virginia in order to get the cash from the taxpayers of North Carolina. I would like to know how many of the elected officials involved in the decision have, or will receive political contributions from LabCorp? Who knows what LabCorp will ask for next? How about adding the following motto to the state’s seal “Property of LabCorp.”

Location of the Greensboro-Winston-Salem-High Point CSA:      Greensboro     Winston-Salem     Thomasville-Lexington     Burlington     Mount Airy

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27 Sep 09 LabCorp Billing Patients More Than Allowed

LabCorp Billing & Attorney Who Want to Hear From YouI recently received an email from John Hoevel, a prominent attorney in Chicago, who is thinking about filing a class action lawsuit against LabCorp for over billing patients. It seems that LabCorp is billing the patient’s insurance company and then over-billing the patient more than the patient responsibility portion of the insurance (or as LabCorp Billing & Over Chargingthey call it in the insurance world, more than the co-payment). The bottom line is that if LabCorp is billing patients more than they are allowed, Hoevel & Associates wants to stop them.

He would like to hear from you if:

1. Your insurance company processed a claim for LabCorp services, and

2. LabCorp or LCA Collections billed you for a balance higher than the patient responsibility amount shown on your insurance company’s Explanation of Benefits (EOB), and

3. You paid the balance, or any portion thereof flagyl pills.

You can contact Mr. John Hoevel by emailing him at lab@hoevellaw.com. All emails will be kept confidential and you may have an opportunity to recover some of those over-billings.

If you are a LabCorp employee who knows about this or any other unethical practice by LabCorp, please contact Mr. Hoevel. Your statements can be very useful in stopping unethical actions by LabCorp and you and your job will be fully protected by the law under the Whistleblower Act. You might even get a reward.

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