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Minnesota will sue two COVID-19 testing companies after numerous complaints

Minnesota Attorney General Keith Ellison said that the state planned to file suit against Illinois-based companies Center for COVID Control LLC and Doctors Clinical Laboratory Inc. Combined, the groups ran eight Minnesota testing sites in Eagan, Minneapolis, St. Paul, Rochester and Virginia. Ellison said the state received numerous complaints from patients and former employees about the testing sites.

4431886+jmp 002 0212 Keith Ellison .jpg
After greeting door-knocking supporters at North Commons Park in Minneapolis, Keith Ellison answered questions from the media Friday, Aug. 17, 2018.
Jean Pieri / St. Paul Pioneer Press
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ST. PAUL — Minnesota is set to sue two COVID-19 testing companies after they failed to provide results or reported false test results to Minnesotans.

Minnesota Attorney General Keith Ellison on Wednesday, Jan. 19, told reporters in a virtual news conference that the state planned to file suit against Illinois-based companies Center for COVID Control LLC and Doctors Clinical Laboratory Inc. Combined, the groups ran eight Minnesota testing sites in Eagan, Minneapolis, St. Paul, Rochester and Virginia.

And the state reported that they billed more than $113 million to the federal government for uninsured patients across the country, including in Minnesota.

In its legal complaint, the state alleged that the two testing companies:

  • failed to provide test results in the timeline they advertised;
  • provided test results for patients that didn't end up testing at their sites;
  • failed to process samples;
  • and gave patients false results.

As a result, patients said they waited days or weeks for results and had to seek out other testing services at their expense or at the expense of their insurance provider.
"When Minnesotans and people around the country tested with these companies to keep themselves and their families safe, they trusted that they would get correct results on time," Ellison said. "They didn't get that."

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Two patients who tested at pop-up sites run by the two companies said the testing centers failed to take steps to protect patient privacy and failed to deliver timely results.

Hannah Puffer said she went to get a COVID-19 test at a metro testing site last week and staff said she would have results in less than an hour.

“This was over a week ago and we still haven’t gotten our results so we had to go wait in line at the state testing centers,” Puffer said.

Former employees at the testing centers said they'd become overwhelmed by the volume of people seeking tests late last year and workers were unable to process results quickly enough. Specimens were kept on hand in garbage bags and workers were told to tell patients their results would come within 24 hours or were inconclusive, even if those updates weren't true, they told state investigators.

The state has sought to block the testing centers from engaging in deceptive practices and obtain restitution for Minnesotans affected by the testing sites.

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Center for COVID Control LLC and Doctors Clinical Laboratory Inc. didn't immediately respond to requests for comment.

Ellison asked that Minnesotans with concerns about the testing centers report complaints to the Minnesota Attorney General's Office.

Related Topics: CORONAVIRUS
Dana Ferguson is a Minnesota Capitol Correspondent for Forum News Service. Ferguson has covered state government and political stories since she joined the news service in 2018, reporting on the state's response to the COVID-19 pandemic, the divided Statehouse and the 2020 election.
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