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caption: Containers containing liquid called 'media' that the coronavirus test swabs are placed in are shown on Wednesday, April 29, 2020, at Fred Hutch in Seattle. First responders with the Seattle Fire Department who either hadn't tested positive for the coronavirus, or had never been tested at all, participated in the Seattle Covid Cohort Study and were tested for the virus as well as for antibodies.
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Containers containing liquid called 'media' that the coronavirus test swabs are placed in are shown on Wednesday, April 29, 2020, at Fred Hutch in Seattle. First responders with the Seattle Fire Department who either hadn't tested positive for the coronavirus, or had never been tested at all, participated in the Seattle Covid Cohort Study and were tested for the virus as well as for antibodies.
Credit: KUOW Photo/Megan Farmer

Covid testing company with Washington outlets is under investigation

If you needed a Covid test in the past few years, there’s a chance you visited GS Labs.

There are five GS Labs locations here in Washington. Typically they’re located in strip malls, and promise quick results and same-day appointments, even when Covid cases are surging.

But a new investigation by American Public Media indicates GS Labs didn’t always carry through on those promises.

Tom Scheck is with American Public Media’s investigative unit APM Reports, which broke a story on GS Labs.

You can find his original reporting here.

"The company promised fast and convenient testing," Scheck said. "But we talked to a number of consumers who complained that they never got their results, that they received someone else’s results or they received results that we so delayed that they became useless because they were likely no longer infectious."

Public health officials in Washington were also frustrated with GS Labs, according to Scheck. The lab was slow to report results to government agencies, slowing down attempts to trace outbreaks via testing data.

Multiple former employees also said the company pushed for patients to get multiple types of tests.

"They would receive a rapid test, a PCR test and an antibody test during one visit," Scheck explained. "This troubled public-health officials who said the triple tests were unnecessary, and it upset insurance companies who have filed a lawsuit against GS Labs for what it characterizes is unnecessary and high-priced tests."

One of the insurance companies that filed a lawsuit is Premera, based here in Washington.

Currently, GS Labs is being investigated both locally and federally.

"And we want to be clear - an investigation doesn’t necessarily mean wrongdoing," Sheck said. "It just means government regulators are looking into something. GS Labs says it is fully cooperating with any investigations."

Read more about GS Labs in Washington here.