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.
Relators 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.
“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.
Tags: fraud, Government Investigations, labcorp, LabCorp Billing Stories, Labcorp Criminal, labcorp whistle blowers, Labcorp Wrongdoings, Labcorp.com Billing, laboratory Corporation of America, medicaid, medicaid fraud
I work at one of LabCorp’s many billing departments around the country. The place sucks. The department, the company, the manager, and supervisors. I come in every day and my co-workers are like robots in a factory.The job is fast paced and I’m not surprised about the billing complaints because, yes we do make mistakes in billing. Why? Because we’re told to do it at a super speed/superman rate which causes many of us to miss other vital information. If we don’t meet their numbers, we get called in and get “talked to” about our poor performance. The job really is simple to do if you’re allowed to do to it the way humans should. It’s the company and superiors that make the work atrocious.Here’s a typical day for the billing people: come in, work, work, work, get bitched at by superior for talking/laughing with co-workers/having emotion/acting human/not performing to LabCorp’s standards, work, work, work, get bitched at some more, work, then the day’s over. Actually, that’s the setting in other departments in the company. I’ve talked to others, not one of them have anything nice to say about the company or their superiors. We’re not supposed to have any type of human emotion or try to enjoy our work environment, apparently. Yet the ones trying to impose the rules are don’t even follow it.My superiors aren’t doing crap and chat with one another for most of the day and the fingers get pointed at us on the floor when corporate isn’t happy with our performance. When I say we’re like robots, it ‘s true. That’s what they want us to be. Think of a sweatshop setting. When they’re not happy, they create dumber rules and added stress.If you absolutely need money, then apply here. Otherwise, this should be your last resort. It COULD be a good company to work for, but they need people who don’t have sticks up their asses and actually know what they’re doing and can treat and respect people who are below them.
Tags: billing, complaints, General Labcorp Stories, LabCorp Billing Stories, LabCorp Complaints, LabCorp Employee Stories, LabCorp Employees, LabCorp Managers, labcorp whistle blowers, Labcorp Wrongdoings, Labcorp.com Billing
Here’s a very common complaint. Patient walks into a LabCorp location, has blood drawn, LabCorp loses the blood samples and still bills for the test. This very illegal LabCorp billing practice will eventually backfire. How can LabCorp billing charge for an exam that they did not do? Worse yet, how could they lose the blood samples? Even worse, can it have been tested and another patient receive the results as if their own? It all reminds me of a Looney Toons cartoon I used to watch when I was a little kid. A long floppy eared dog goes running after another animal and stops in its track saying “which way did he go??? Which way did he go???”
Here’s an email that I recently received. It tells the complete story:
Couldn’t believe that there is a whole website devoted to Labcorp screw ups! On November 23rd, 2009, my husband and I both went to Labcorp with physicians work orders in hand. After waiting about an hour, we finally had our respective blood drawn. My husband’s was routine. I am a cancer patient and had two orders, one from my oncologist and the other from my primary care doctor. Even though the facility was very busy and it was a Monday (I should have known better), there was only one phlebotomist on hand. She stated that she was the only one drawing blood there for the past month.
We never heard from our doctor with the results, so on a visit this past weekend, we asked our doctor what the results were. She stated she never received them and proceeded to call Labcorp. She was told they had no record of us going into their facility in November. On a hunch, I called our provider, Humana, on Monday and was told Labcorp had billed them over $500 for my labwork on November 23rd and also had billed them for my husband’s. So, according to labcorp, we never went there on November 23rd, yet they billed Humana over $500!! Meanwhile, we had to have our blood re-drawn yesterday. This time we went to Quest Diagnostics. Maybe we’ll have better luck there. I have filed a complaint with Internal Affairs at Humana and hope to follow up with a letter to labcorp if I can find the proper person to send it to.
Tags: blood samples lost, blood test, blood test lost, complaints, humana, illegal, insurance, labcorp, LabCorp Billing Stories, labcorp general, labcorp locations, LabCorp Stories, labcorp unethical, Labcorp Wrongdoings, Labcorp.com Billing, mistakes
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.
Well 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.”
Tags: billing, General Labcorp Stories, Government Investigations, labcorp centers, Labcorp Criminal, LabCorp Executives, LabCorp Jobs, LabCorp Stock, labcorp unethical, Labcorp Wrongdoings, Labcorp.com Billing
I 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 they 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.
You can contact Mr. John Hoevel by emailing him at firstname.lastname@example.org. 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.
Tags: billing, General Labcorp Stories, insurance, labcorp, LabCorp Billing Stories, LabCorp Complaints, labcorp unethical, labcorp whistle blowers, Labcorp Wrongdoings, Labcorp.com Billing, laboratory Corporation of America, lawsuits, LCA Collections
Many may have already heard about LabCorp’s bold move in denying services to a heart attack patient over an old debt of $7, but I just want to make sure that everyone hears about this incident. Below is the article by Donna Smith, the patient’s wife. She rightfully denounced Laboratory Corporation of America’s practice of disallowing services when “their” computer shows that an old debt was not paid, even if you have insurance and your insurance company may have made an error or did not pay the amount that Laboratory Corporation of America believed was due. Bottom line is that even with insurance, LabCorp will deny services to patients who they believe owe them money from prior services. Here is the note from LabCorp’s front desk that was given to Mr. Smith when he was denied services. You can click on it to get a bigger image.
OK, if this wasn’t personal enough just yet for me, it just got a whole lot more so. And if you think for one instant that in this nation at this point in history and with this popularly elected President and Democratic Congress you will be treated for a heart attack simply because you might die if you are not treated, think again. And if you think having insurance helps, think some more.
On Friday, my husband was denied a blood test because a computer record from some distant time past and some other state showed he had a $7 balance with LabCorp. I am not making this up.
My husband had a heart attack this week. He woke up one morning sweating profusely and with a heart rate dropping. I watched his color turn first ruddy then ashen, and then he felt as though he was going to pass out. He would not allow me to call 911 as he slowly began to feel sick to his stomach and he believed his symptoms were digestive rather than cardiac.
We have learned over the years to wait to seek care – it is expensive to do otherwise and dooms us to the endless loop of bills and collection notices and more damage to our already badly bruised credit rating. So we always wait to seek care until there seems to be no other option. We are not alone. Millions of Americans do the same. We do not want to use the emergency rooms or doctors’ offices. We don’t want anything to do with the whole mess.
We moved to Maryland in March, but have fought Humana insurance and Medicare transfer since then to even make sure my husband can get any care at all. And, by God, we were paying the premiums the whole time the insurance folks hemmed and hawed and stalled. It took three months to get that all straightened out, during which time they repeated over and over, “we’re not denying treatment,” and technically I suppose they weren’t as they want us all just to get out our checkbooks and debit cards and pay up. And in the meantime, my husband waited for any doctors’ appointment and got meds by calling back to Chicago to get prescriptions refilled.
My husband is a cardiac patient and a vascular patient with a complicated medical history and needs follow-up care on a regular basis. He is a responsible guy who has always maintained his insurance coverage and who avoids seeking care unless it is needed. He does not seek to overuse or abuse the system. To stay relatively healthy, he needs regular check-ups and decent intervention when necessary.
But, I insisted my husband follow up in the way we all are told is more sensible and cost effective. He went to a primary care doc on Wednesday who shuffled him off to a cardiologist after a visit barely long enough to be billed as an “extended, new patient visit.” An EKG showed the grim reality. “Abnormal, negative T-waves. Inferior infarct.”
Blood work was ordered in advance of the cardiologist visit set for Friday. He was to fast overnight, see the cardiologist and then get his blood drawn. Seems to be progressing, eh?
Well, only until he sat down in the LabCorp office to get his blood drawn. The LabCorp employee typed in my husband’s Social Security Number, and promptly told him he could not have his blood drawn or have his test administered until he cleared up his old bill with LabCorp. The bill? $7. That’s right — $7.
And my husband has been covered by insurance for many years. But now he sat – post myocardial infarction or heart attack – being told by a laboratory employee that he would be denied care due to an unpaid $7 bill. He did not have $7 with him. He was fasting. He tried to explain. They did not budge. They did call the supervisor. She confirmed and stood her ground for LabCorp. No test for Larry Smith. He owes $7.
David King, the CEO of LabCorp, made $8.2 million in 2008. He’s one of the people and LabCorp is one of the companies President Obama is celebrating who will help transform our nation’s healthcare system. Indeed. And LabCorp’s political participation committee donated funds to several candidates in 2008, including Sen. Max Baucus and Sen. Charles Grassley, both of the Senate Finance Committee that is working on the nation’s healthcare reform.
Lest we think the insurance giants are the only people hurting, harming and killing Americans like my husband as they shore up their profits, follow the money in this story alone. One doctor’s office, another doctor’s office, one insurance company and finally a lab – all worked together to make what they could individually off my husband and then ultimately denied his care for $7. Everybody got their bite of the apple and then left him in the dust as they moved on to the next source of revenue, oops, I mean the next patient.
Where do we stand today? Still no blood work drawn. Waiting for next week to see what we can do to set the tests and exams the cardiologist ordered before she got busy with another patient. Did my husband return to the doctor’s office to tell them what happened and ask for their help? Yes. And he said not one person, not one, would reach into their pockets and give him the $7 or pick up the phone and try to help him resolve this. So what was his life worth? $7.
We’ll get the tests done somehow. But the point is, we’ll have to fight for it. And his heart will be stressed more and so on and so on and so on. This is the travesty of healthcare in this nation. And this Congress and this President are so damned concerned with their own political futures they cannot even see this reality for the rest of us. I am so angry.
And don’t tell me that a single payer – publicly funded and privately delivered system — wouldn’t stop heart attack patients from being denied care due to old debts of $7. It’s the only system that could stop that sort of abuse.
The LabCorp supervisor who denied Larry Smith’s test on Friday, June 26, in Elkridge, Maryland, is named Shirley Smith (no relation to Larry) at LabCorp’s Maryland office: 410-365-1264.
Donna Smith is a substantial supporter of the Democrat Party so in all fairness, LabCorp attorneys and management were also contributors to Barack Obama, Hilary Clinton and many Democrat Senators and Members of the House of Representatives who are working on health care reform legislation. LabCorp is now trying to convince these same elected officials into making laws that benefit the company. According to Huffington Post, 7 identifiable LabCorp employees contributed to Republicans while 14 contributed to Democrats.
Tags: Bad Service Centers, billing, health care reform, insurance, LabCorp Billing Stories, LabCorp Employees, labcorp general, LabCorp Health Care, labcorp unethical, Labcorp.com Billing, laboratory Corporation of America
Just received a statement from LabCorp for the blood tests performed on July 1st. My insurance company paid them but they claim that there is still a deductible that I have to pay. The bill came with a return envelope that required a stamp, and a notice that if I wanted to pay online I can go to labcorp.com billing. I fully reviewed the billing statement to see what they billed for. All the tests that they performed and reported results were billed for, and the one that they claimed that “there was not enough blood for” was not billed. My insurance company paid them a fraction of what they billed, which I guess was the contract rate. The only thing that is puzzling is that the amount that LabCorp claims that I am responsible for is about 30% of what my insurance company paid them. If you take the amount that they actually billed, then the patient responsibility amount is fair, as it is only about 3% of the total amount of the billing. 30% seems kind of high so I will look into the matter further.