Center for COVID Control testing sites suspend operations for staff training and education

(WXYZ) — A COVID-19 testing center with sites across the country and right here in Metro Detroit is temporarily closing after a slew of complaints.

The news comes as this fourth wave of COVID cases has spiked demand for testing.

I first received word about this particular company this week. I went to see for myself in today’s Don’t Waste Your Money report.

The Better Business Bureau researched a COVID testing company with pop-up sites in the United States.

“The “Center for Covid Control” appears as tenants, in formerly vacant building spaces. They really come out of the woodwork,” says Mélanie Duquesnel.

Duquesnel is president and CEO of the Better Business Bureau of Eastern Michigan and UP and says there are at least eleven such sites that have opened in Southeast Michigan and several hundred more in across the country.

“I know for a fact that St. Louis, Oregon, South Carolina, are definitely — and Chicago are definitely being watched very closely,” she says.

The Chicago and Northern Illinois BBB told me it was “actively investigating an influx of multiple complaints in numerous states regarding this ‘F-rated’ company” with the company not responding to inquiries from the BBB regarding complaints, complaints such as ‘not getting test results’, paying ‘money for expedited results but not getting results’ and ‘not answering customer questions’ etc.

Here is their full statement:

BBB is actively investigating an influx of multiple complaints in numerous states regarding this “F-rated” company. The company did not respond to the BBB’s inquiry about the complaints.

Center for Covid Control has the lowest rating the BBB can give a company as well as the lowest rating in customer reviews. As complaints keep pouring in… Consumers allege…

A) They don’t get the test results

B) Some paid money for accelerated results, but they don’t get results

C) The company does not respond to customers with questions or request their test results

C) They ask for a lot of personal information

D) They received incorrect test results.

So I decided to check out one of the places near Five Mile and Merriman in Livonia.

At 9 a.m. sharp, the place was to be open. The door was locked and marked “temporary”. It should be temporarily. It’s misspelled. And “closed”.

There was a light on all the way back. But I didn’t see any activity.

It looked almost abandoned. A large panel glued to the inside of the window. No chairs to wait. Just one social distancing sticker.

Julie Adams says she had a decent experience both times she went there, remembering only one person behind the counter who directed her to a QR code.

“You would register your information, upload your license, and they would have you self-administer the test, and you would get the results in 10 minutes,” says Adams.

“It’s been about a month since they kind of moved in. It was kind of sketchy the whole way through,” says Monica Ingles, owner of Sorella’s Custom Cakes next door.

“We just arrived one morning, and there were people standing outside – I’m not kidding – in bathrobes. And they were people who worked there! said Ingles. “Nothing about it seemed remotely professional or organized.”

The BBB visited other storefronts in Warren and Dearborn, as well as a hard-to-find fourth-floor office site in downtown Detroit.

Then late Thursday afternoon, we received a press release from the Illinois-based company in question: “Center for COVID Control ‘to suspend operations for additional staff training and education'” – stating that ‘some Center for COVID Control (or CCC) sites are experiencing high levels of demand for testing due to the surge of the omicron variant. This unusually high patient demand has strained staff resources, as has been widely reported, at a subset of our sites, affecting our usual customer service standards and diagnostic goals. Adding that the company “will temporarily suspend collection of patient samples beginning Friday, January 14 with plans to reopen on Saturday, January 22.

The founder and CEO stating, in part, “we have made this difficult decision to temporarily suspend all operations until we are satisfied that all collection sites meet our high quality standards”.

The CEO went on to explain that a key factor contributing to CCC’s current challenges is the rapid spread of the omicron variant within their own ranks and the number of covid tests increasing from 8,000 a day nationwide to over 80. 000 per day.

But he also apologized for recent inconveniences with customers and a loss of trust, explaining that employee training and management improvements are aimed at refocusing staff.

The press release explained that the test results collected on Thursday will be carefully processed by today – Friday January 14 – and the results will be provided in a timely manner.

Here is a statement from the Michigan Attorney General’s office:

We are aware of recent media reports regarding the Center for Covid Control. We have received a very small number of consumer complaints and inquiries regarding this company.

At this time, we don’t know enough about this company to comment on its practices.

We have communicated with our partners at the BBB and are urging consumers who have experiences like those described in recent reports to alert their local health department and file a complaint with our consumer protection team. As concerns about Covid testing locations can involve both public health and consumer protection, the Attorney General is committed to ensuring that priority attention is given to such complaints. However, we cannot comment on ongoing investigations.

We urge consumers to do their homework before choosing Covid testing locations. Talk to your healthcare professional or visit the MDHHS website to find approved testing sites where tests are provided at no cost. Look for companies that offer testing just like you would any other company selling a good or service – check out the BBB and other online review sources.

Consumer complaints can be filed online at the Attorney General’s website, or by calling 877-765-8388. If you see anything suspicious, you can also report it here: https://www.bbb.org/scamtracker

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