More questions are arising about pop-up COVID-19 test sites. Thursday, San Francisco's City Attorney subpoenaed a big test company and its lab, he has questions about what’s going on there.
NBC Bay Area Consumer Investigator Chris Chmura read through the subpoenas and dove into the companies today.
First, we know Uncle Sam has paid them a lot of money for COVID testing: more than $90 million dollars since the pandemic started -- most of that money going to the lab. The city of San Francisco says these were literal pop-ups that would appear on the streets of San Francisco one day, do tests, maybe reappear elsewhere, then disappear.
The companies are called Community Wellness America and Crestview Clinical Laboratory. They’re headquartered near San Diego and L.A., respectively.
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San Francisco City Attorney David Chiu's office is demanding these companies turn over lots of inside information:
- All documents about everyone tested in San Francisco.
- All paperwork connecting the companies
- All policies, procedures, protocols, training, and more.
Chiu calls the companies “rogue” -- based on reports to his office about the people under the tents.
Chiu said, “individuals who do not appear to be well trained in safe health procedures are asking folks for personal information and they may not have the appropriate licensing or training to be doing what they are doing.”
He also said that Community Wellness America is not licensed to do business in San Francisco and he says it hasn’t responded to his office’s questions.
We called the company today and talked to CEO Steve Sterling, a licensed acupuncturist. He told us his company has done 1.3 million COVID-19 tests at 600 locations in 33 states. as far as what happens on the ground -- whether the outfit is licensed or people are trained -- he said that’s not up to him. it’s up to contractors and sub-contractors.
“It looks like we have some transparency and clarifications that we need to address with the people in San Francisco there,” Stirling said. “I’m confident that we can be able to address those concerns and make sure that we are in compliance and everything is satisfactory.”
As for the lab, Crestview, a representative said “I was not aware of [the subpoena], but I have passed it on to our attorney.” The representative also sought to distance the lab from CWA.
But when we checked this afternoon, the CWA website was still showing a lab requisition form with the t Crestview lab. We asked the lab about that but did not receive an answer.
The form is pre-signed by doctor Phillip Milgram near San Diego. His name is also listed on San Francisco’s subpoena. Doctor Milgram’s LinkedIn page says he’s a board-certified obstetrician-gynecologist who also practices cosmetic surgery.
Milgram answered Consumer Investigator Chris Chmura’s phone call today but declined to speak with him.