Andrew 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).
Tags: billing, federal government, Government Investigations, lab, labcorp, Labcorp Criminal, LabCorp Stock, labcorp unethical, labcorp whistle blowers, laboratory Corporation of America, laboratory test, lawsuits, medicaid, medicare, NYSE:LH
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 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.
One 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
Jacksonville, Florida 32202
SUBJECT: LABCORP CONDUCT IN FLORIDA.
All correspondence is confidential.
Tags: earnings, employment standards administration, florida operations, Labcorp Criminal, LabCorp Employees, LabCorp Executives, labcorp general, labcorp unethical, Labcorp Wrongdoings, laboratory Corporation of America, lawsuits, LH Stock, NYSE:LH, securities and exchange commission, us department of labor
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 email@example.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.
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
Making a lab error on a blood test can have a serious impact on a life. I don’t know if LabCorp employees don’t care, or if they are simply numb to the impact of their lab errors because they rapidly run through so many blood tests. This is part of their “quantity is more important than quality” problem.
I received this email from Natasha today. I don’t know what I would do if this LabCorp lab error occurred during a blood test on my child. It is devastating news that no one should have to endure as a result of a lab error.
LabCorp diagnosed my son with a rare genetic disorder called Angelman Syndrome by a Methylation blood work test. This syndrome is characterized with mental retardation, lack of speech, and seizures just to name a few symptoms. Our family was devastated, and we grieved for months.
When he got in to see a neurologist, he ordered another test to get more information about which type of the syndrome he may have. This test came back negative. We were shocked, but tried not to get our hopes up too high because we did not know which test was accurate. When we finally got in to see the geneticist, he ordered another round of genetic testing, this time a more detailed test called a cgh, as well as the original test. All negative.
LabCorp told the genetic counselor that they think they switched his blood. For privacy reasons they wont tell us anything, but assured her that they would try and find the child who really has this condition. As relieved as we were to have the good news, we are so angry for this mix up happening in the first place. Months and months of our lives were taken from us, and I still have not received one phone call from Lab Corp. We are unsure how to proceed from here. Anyway, this is an EXTREMELY abbreviated version of the story. Please let me know if you would like more information, I will do anything to help, no family should go through what we experienced.
My recommendation to Natasha is that she find a lawyer and sue LabCorp for punitive damages. A blood test lab error of this magnitude should be sufficient grounds for a lawsuit. One that I am sure LabCorp would settle quickly before the news quickly spreads and their testing service loses even more credibility.
The days between getting LabCorp’s lab results and finding out about LabCorp’s error were probably Natasha’s worst days of her life. No health services provider has the right to do this to anyone. It’s obvious that Laboratory Corporation of America understands money, so they should pay for their mistake. In addition, government regulators should step in so that this never happens again.