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Felix Huettenbach, CEO of Sameday HealthLinkedIn

LOS ANGELES, California (LifeSiteNews) — A COVID-19 testing company has agreed to pay a $22.5 million settlement after it was accused of falsifying hundreds of COVID test results. 

Los Angeles City Attorney Mike Feuer and District Attorney George Gascón accused Sameday Health and Felix Huettenbach, its CEO, of sending fraudulent results to hundreds of clients, indicating negative results for COVID although no lab had run their tests. According to the court filing, some tests were never processed by the lab at all. 

Huettenbach was accused of directing Sameday Health employees to forge negative results for more than 500 tests to get them back more quickly to clients. According to a statement by the company, Sameday was founded in September 2020 “to make fast, reliable COVID testing available to everyone.” 

In the settlement agreement proposed to the court, Sameday has agreed to pay $22.5 million. This includes restitution payments of more than $9.6 million and almost $13 million to the city and county of Los Angeles for the enforcement of consumer protection laws. 

The settlement also mandates that the company comply with a court injunction forbidding it from making false claims and engaging in other fraudulent business practices. 

According to the court filing, Sameday promised tests results would be returned in 24 hours charging $195 for the turnaround. However, the complaint states, “the promise was false — Sameday could not guarantee a 24-hour turnaround time” since the labs with whom it contracted “expressly stated that they could not deliver results that quickly.” 

Feuer and Gascón alleged that to get results back to clients who had paid for the 24-hour return, Sameday decided to falsify test results, using negative tests from previous clients and changing the name, date, and other information to match new clients. 

The attorneys also accused Sameday of health insurance fraud by charging insurance companies an additional fee for “medical consultations.” 

“It’s beyond outrageous that anyone would falsify COVID tests, as we allege happened here,” Feuer said in a statement. “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.”  

The settlement includes more than $5 million in refunds for those who got tested for COVID through the company between October 1 and December 31, 2020. The amount of restitution repaid to individuals will depend on how much a person paid for a test, Feuer said. 

The time period pertaining to the restitution corresponds to the period in which the company is alleged to have engaged in falsifying test results. However, Feuer indicated that if anyone has received a Sameday Health result that in any way appears suspicious, they should contact the company or his own law firm.  

This is not first time Sameday has been confronted about its business practices. New York Attorney General Letitia James sent the company a letter in December warning them against “misleading advertising” about the turnaround for COVID test results. The issue was that clients were waiting longer than they were told they would for the expedited results for which they had paid extra. 

The NY attorney general announced in February that Sameday had to refund more than $230,000 to thousands of clients charged for expedited results.