Quest Labs will pay $1.8 Million for overbilling scheme

(July 2, 2018)  Quest Labs will pay $1.8 million for an overbilling scheme that defrauded Medicare and Medicaid.  That payment will likely not come as a surprise to the many Quest customers who level similar charges on the Quest review page at ConsumerAffairs.com.  There, some 267 Quest Diagnostics Consumer Reviews and Complaints (55 in the last year) average out to give Quest a dismal 1-star rating on a 1-5 star scale.  Those 267 reviewers are all verified, according to the web site.

Quest Diagnostics, Inc. and Quest Diagnostics Clinical Laboratories agreed to pay the U.S. $1.79 million, in April 2018, to settle claims of violations of the False Claims Act.

Echoing charges from many of the reviewers who question Quest’s billing practices on the Consumer Affairs web site, Quest was accused by the U.S. government of submitting duplicative claims to Medicare for several different tests.  Quest claimed its double billing was due to IT issues that affected some test codes in its system.  Quest denied any wrongdoing and said the problem won’t reoccur since the company updated its billing systems.

That said, we offer a typical example of the many one-star reviews of Quest Diagnostics.  One of the 267 verified reviewers, “S. Of Calif.”, published this statement on Jan 20, 2018:

“I have gone to Quest Diagnostics on my doctor’s recommendations since 2006. In that time I have had close to a million dollars in work performed by hospitals, clinics, and Quest labs. I have the entire time experienced with Quest only incorrect billing of my insurance on a consistent basis the entire time. I have multiple insurance overages. Quest not only billed my insurance companies but they, each time, have billed me forcing me to either pay the invoice or contact them to get it straightened out. This appears to be systemic with their billing practices. No other medical provider do I have this problem with. Now I am getting collection notices for bills that they were supposed to correct after alerting Quest that they had failed to bill it correctly. They refuse to correct the situation that they created causing me financial hardship and ongoing stress. With regard to the star rating if I could choose negative stars I would.”

Quest Diagnostic Whistleblower Lawsuit Settlement
Former Quest employee Eliza Martinez will receive $358,000 as her reward for blowing the whistle on Quest’s allegedly fraudulent billing practices.

Ms. Martinez testified that she saw Quest perform duplicate tests on the same patients on the same day, and then she saw Quest bill Medicare twice for that exact same test.

The U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of California investigated after Ms. Martinez filed the complaint. The settled claims are only allegations, by law; the government established no determination of liability.

One would think Quest makes enough dough not to overbill people or the government.  Quest generated some $7.5 billion in revenue in 2016.  The company runs more than 2,200 patient service centers that conduct lab tests.  Quest’s website says Quest “[s]erves about half of the physicians and hospitals in the U.S.”

Many of the Quest reviewers also question whether a company can be trusted to do its lab work right when it offers terrible customer service (never answering the phone is another common complaint) and then not only double bills but also erroneously turns those bills over to a collection agency.

Quest Lawsuit
It’s a fair question to ask, especially now that we know Quest has missed some diagnoses.  Quest is being sued today for missing a cancer diagnosis in more than 200 women in Ireland.  Quest has settled with a woman involved in at least one of those cases.  More than a dozen of the women have reportedly since died of cancer, while their survivors and others who believe they were misdiagnosed are also suing Quest for damages.  Quest lawsuits are being filed as a result.

Given the whistleblower lawsuit and the 267 awful reviews of Quest Diagnostics, one can only wonder whether this company is performing its diagnostic duties with the due diligence its customers expect and deserve.

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