'Fraudulent' Covid-Testing Company Agrees to Refund Clients in Los Angeles County
Santa Monica residents who paid for their coronavirus tests at Sameday Health may qualify for refunds.
April 29, 2022
Sameday Health, a Venice-based COVID-19 testing company, allegedly falsified and forged test results, according to a complaint released by the Los Angeles City Attorney's Office, which reached a $22.5 million settlement with the company late last week.
Sameday Technologies, which operates under Sameday Health, has 55 testing sites throughout the country, with 16 locations in Los Angeles County. In Santa Monica, a Sameday clinic is still open at 1335 3rd St. Promenade.
The testing company also has clinics in Culver City, Long Beach, Redondo Beach, Pasadena, Sherman Oaks, Manhattan Beach, Studio City, West Hollywood, downtown Los Angeles, Los Feliz, Hollywood, Brentwood, Westchester and Venice.
Under the settlement, Californians who paid out of pocket for a PCR test at Sameday Health between Oct. 1 and Dec. 31 2020 are expected to be refunded by the company.
Some customers who got a PCR test from Sameday outside that timeframe may also be eligible and customers who didn't get results within the advertised turnaround time may quality for a repayment.
Los Angeles City Attorney Mike Feuer and Los Angeles County District Attorney George Gascón filed the complaint, alleging that Sameday Health and its CEO Felix Huettenback falsely advertised that test results would be provided to customers within 24 hours, knowing that it couldn't make that guarantee. The city also alleged that they falsified and forged COVID-19 test results to at least 500 customers when it couldn't provide real results within 24 hours.
The complaint said that the company would manipulate old PDF lab reports from previous tests to forge the results.
"It's beyond outrageous that anyone would falsify COVID tests, as we allege happened here. If you get a negative test, you assume it's safe to go to work, visit family and friends, or take a vacation. But the victims of this alleged scheme might unknowingly have spread COVID to others or failed to receive timely and appropriate care themselves," Feuer said.
The complaint also alleged that Sameday Health would fake results for customers whose tests were never processed by labs. Sameday Health also allegedly charged insurance companies that were already paying for COVID-19 tests an additional fee for unnecessary medical consultations.
In a statement given to Los Angeles Times, Sameday Health said:
"Sameday Health was founded in September 2020 in an effort to make fast, reliable, COVID testing available to everyone. In the early days, amidst the chaos of massive surges in demand for services, and shortages in supplies, we failed to meet the standards for excellence our customers deserve.
"We have corrected the problems that arose back in 2020 and have made significant investments in compliance and systems to ensure that we meet our customers' expectations. We agreed to settle with the City Attorney and the LA District Attorney in order to move forward and to allow the 1,200 men and women of Sameday to place their focus on providing top-level service to the communities we serve."
A second, $3.9 million settlement was reached with Dr. Jeff Toll, a Los Angeles-based doctor that the lawsuit alleged was a partner in Sameday Health's alleged insurance fraud. Sameday Health required people paying with insurance to consent to and participate in consultations with doctors to obtain a COVID-19 test, while people paying with cash were not required to obtain consultations, according to the complaint.
Under the settlements, Sameday Health and Toll are required to pay restitution and civil penalties, with Sameday Health and Huettenbach agreeing to pay more than $9.5 million in restitution and nearly $13 million in civil penalties. Toll agreed to pay $1.5 million in civil penalties and more than $2.8 million in restitution.