Palm Beach County State Attorney Dave Aronberg announced Tuesday the Sober Home Task Force busted open a massive multi-state kickback scheme between drug treatment centers and a local drug testing lab.
According to Aronberg, between February 2015 and February 2017, Coastal Laboratory billed insurance companies more than $141 million dollars for urine testing.
Aronberg said the lab was performing “unwarranted high volume testing” in return for fraudulent claims and kickbacks to the treatment centers.
“So you have treatment centers in cahoots with the labs sending urine to the labs, the labs giving a kickback to the treatment centers and everyone’s making money on the backs of individuals with substance abuse disorder,” he said. “Also, on the backs of taxpayers who ultimately funded this scheme that enriches many at the cost of lives, and at the cost of making our opioid epidemic worse.”
Palm Beach County Sheriff’s Detective Mark Berey said the West Palm Beach lab solicited urine cups to do testing not only from Palm Beach County treatment centers, but from treatment centers in other parts of Florida and Pennsylvania.
According to Berey, one of the owners of the lab in Palm Beach County had a personal connection to one of the owners of the treatment center in Pennsylvania and that led to a “very substantial financial relationship between the facilities.”
“They’re sending the cups to the lab. The lab was generally doing two tests on every cup so they could bill twice,” he said. “They were billing insurance for both cups every time they tested somebody and they were billing initially at rates of $2,000 or $3,000 per test and then remitting 30 to 50 percent of the proceeds back to treatment centers that were providing those urine cups to them.”
According to Aronberg, these 15 arrests bring the total to 85 since the Sober Home Task Force originated in 2016.
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