Four Laboratory Employees in Compton Arrested for Medi-Cal Fraud
Health authorities and police yesterday arrested four medical laboratory employees on accusations of child endangerment for allegedly paying teenagers in Compton and Los Angeles to give blood as part of a plan to illegally collect Medi-Cal payments, AP/Sacramento Bee reports (AP/Sacramento Bee, 4/9). The arrests come one day after the sentencing of two former laboratory owners who defrauded Medi-Cal out of $19 million in a similar operation (California Healthline, 4/8). Investigators said the four employees of five area labs paid area high school students to give blood and then used the blood to create false test results. The labs then allegedly collected Medi-Cal payments, claiming the blood came from patients taking part in a state-sponsored family-planning program (AP/Sacramento Bee, 4/9). State officials said they do not have exact figures on the number of students who gave blood or the amount they were paid. According to Larry Malm, chief investigator for the Department of Health Services, the biggest concern is the health of the children who gave blood. Malm said, "Our biggest concern is the care of these kids," adding, "Who knows what kinds of needles were used? Were the tests done in a shabby manner?" A spokesperson for the American Red Cross said that a donor must be at least 17 years old to give a pint of blood (Pugmire, Los Angeles Times, 4/9).This is part of the California Healthline Daily Edition, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.