FBI Raids Covid Testing Site Company
The company has been reimbursed over $124 million from the federal government for covid tests. Earlier, the Minnesota Attorney General's Office filed a consumer-protection lawsuit against the company. Modern Healthcare, meanwhile, says large insurers lack consumer-friendly test coverage.
FBI Searches Center For COVID Control Headquarters Amid Investigations Into Multi-Million Dollar Testing Business
The FBI on Saturday searched the headquarters of a nationwide string of coronavirus testing sites known as the Center for COVID Control. The company and its main lab, which has been reimbursed more than $124 million from the federal government for coronavirus testing, are under investigation by state and federal officials. The company and lab are registered at the same address in Rolling Meadows, Illinois. (Hauck, 1/23)
In other news about covid tests —
Many Large Insurers Lack Consumer-Friendly COVID-19 Test Coverage Policies
Large insurers are beginning to implement the Biden administration's new requirements to cover at-home COVID-19 tests, but some payers' policies are more consumer-friendly than others, according to a new analysis from the Kaiser Family Foundation. While some insurers like UnitedHealth Group allow members to purchase rapid tests for free at in-network pharmacies or "preferred" retailers like Walmart, others including Cigna and Care First require members buy tests out-of-pocket and mail in claims for reimbursement. (Hellmann, 1/21)
Why Medicare Doesn’t Pay For Rapid At-Home Covid Tests
What group is especially vulnerable to the ravages of covid-19 even if fully vaccinated and boosted? Seniors. And who will have an especially tough time getting free at-home covid tests under the Biden administration’s plan? Yes, seniors. As of Jan. 15, private insurers will cover the cost of eight at-home rapid covid tests each month for their members — for as long as the public health emergency lasts. Finding the tests will be hard enough, but Medicare beneficiaries face an even bigger hurdle: The administration’s new rule doesn’t apply to them. (Andrews, 1/24)
The Charlotte Ledger:
A Combination Of Luck And Risk-Taking Quickly Propel Small Medical Clinic To Forefront Of Covid Testing
To see the lines of cars weaving through parking lots of StarMed testing centers all over Charlotte, it might be tempting to think that the company running the show is drawing on a deep reservoir of healthcare experience. In fact, it’s a relative newcomer, an unlikely overnight sensation that has successfully waded into the heavily regulated healthcare industry and become a household name, with more than a dozen testing centers in Mecklenburg County. It’s doing 40,000 Covid tests a week and employs nearly 2,000 people, up from just 100 two years ago. (Mecia, 1/22)
At-Home Rapid Antigen COVID-19 Tests, PCR Tests An Important Part Of Pandemic Management
Although rapid antigen test results can be done at home and produce results quickly, the gold standard for accuracy remains the PCR lab test — though it can take days. Experts say the value of rapid testing varies, depending on circumstances. Some who already feel sick may want to confirm whether they have COVID-19, while others may use the tests to protect themselves or a loved one from potential exposure to the virus. Many are optimistic that the tests will be a passport back to normalcy, adding a new level of confidence that it’s safe to travel and see family or attend a wedding. But misunderstanding the usefulness of rapid tests could give people false confidence, possibly leading them to unwittingly transmit the virus. (Laughlin and Gantz, 1/24)
How Well Do Rapid COVID Tests Work To Detect Omicron?
How much should you trust the results of a rapid antigen test? That's a question many people are asking these days, amid recent research and anecdotes suggesting these tests may be less sensitive to omicron. Researchers are working fast to figure out what's going on and how to improve the tests. That includes people like Dr. Wilbur Lam, a professor of pediatrics and biomedical engineering at Emory University and one of the lead investigators assessing COVID-19 diagnostic tests for the federal government. His research team began evaluating rapid antigen tests against live samples of the omicron variant last December in the lab, and in early assessments, he says, some tests failed to detect the coronavirus "at a concentration that we would have expected them to catch it if it were another variant." (Godoy, 1/23)