Center for COVID Control facing lawsuit alleging widespread coronavirus testing scheme

One former employee said so many tests were coming in for processing that they were stored in garbage bags.

1/23/2022 12:45:00 AM

The Center for COVID Control is facing a fraud lawsuit filed by Minnesota's attorney general alleging a widespread COVID testing scheme.

One former employee said so many tests were coming in for processing that they were stored in garbage bags.

The Biden administration is working to make COVID-19 rapid test kits more available and accessible to Americans as case numbers soar.Michael Pino, a former Center for COVID Control employee, told the I-Team at our sister station WLS that many tests that arrived for processing were stored in garbage bags.

"They came in these trash bags, and we counted them on the floor of an office building, like where the computers are set up and everything. So we kind of had to scramble around and find a good place to count in that area. The first couple bags I counted right on the floor next to the computer," he said.

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More News Videos The Biden administration is working to make COVID-19 rapid test kits more available and accessible to Americans as case numbers soar. Michael Pino, a former Center for COVID Control employee, told the I-Team at our sister station WLS that many tests that arrived for processing were stored in garbage bags. "They came in these trash bags, and we counted them on the floor of an office building, like where the computers are set up and everything. So we kind of had to scramble around and find a good place to count in that area. The first couple bags I counted right on the floor next to the computer," he said. "They would either not process the test in time so that it couldn't get released in time, or they would have lost the actual result to the test, or they would have never even processed the test," he added. Pino, who worked at CCC headquarters from September until late December, said he was instructed to lie to customers about the their test results. "I was told to make up whatever I had to, to make them happy and be nice about it," he said. "The dates were absolutely getting changed. If your test was getting late, nine times out of 10 we were probably changing your date to the date your test was taken, instead of the date your test was actually being processed," former Center for COVID Control employee Tina Morales also told WLS. CMS conducted on-site complaint surveys at multiple testing sites and the main lab used by CCC -- the Doctors Clinical Laboratory -- in November and December, according to a CMS spokesperson. "CMS identified non-compliance and is waiting on an allegation of compliance from the laboratory to address the deficiencies cited," the CMS spokesperson said. CCC announced last week it would pause operations from January 14 to 22 because"unusually high patient demand has stressed staffing resources, as has been widely reported, in a subset of our locations, affecting our usual customer service standards and diagnostic goals." "Center for COVID Control is committed to serving our patients in the safest, most accurate and most compliant manner," CCC founder and CEO Aleya Siyaj said in the announcement."Regrettably, due to our rapid growth and the unprecedented recent demand for testing, we haven't been able to meet all our commitments." On Thursday, CCC announced on its website all locations are closed until further notice. The pause in operations will be used"to train additional staff on sample collection and handling, customer service and communications best practices, as well as compliance with regulatory guidelines," according to the Center. The-CNN-Wire ™ & © 2022 Cable News Network, Inc., a WarnerMedia Company. All rights reserved. ABC Owned TV Stations contributed to this report.