Allegations against rapid test providers Incorrect billing, high material costs
Status: 14.06.2021 6:12 p.m.
The rapid test chain MediCan is said to have, among other things, billed medical services and estimated excessive material costs for the tests. Learned that NDR , WDR and SZ from judicial circles. By M. Grill, A. Henze, J. Lange, G. Mascolo, C. Basl and P. Milling, NDR / WDR The two heads of the MediCan rapid test chain have been in custody for more than a week. The Bochum public prosecutor’s office had issued arrest warrants against the owner Oguzhan C. and his son and managing director Sertac C. because they are said to have accounted for as medical centers, although they lacked the prerequisites for how WDR , NDR and “Süddeutsche Zeitung” learned from judicial circles. In addition, they are said to have charged the federal government for antigen tests at higher prices than they actually cost in purchasing. The public prosecutor’s office is also investigating the suspicion that the company billed a significantly higher number of tests with the Association of Statutory Health Insurance Physicians than were actually carried out in the more than 50 centers. The suspected provisional damage amount is in the low double-digit million range, according to the assessment of the public prosecutor. One of the accused is represented by lawyer Reinhard Peters. As he announced on request, there was “an hour-long interrogation by the public prosecutor’s office” last Friday. Mr. C. Senior sticks: “All the tests that he billed have also been carried out.” Peters had no knowledge of the doctors previously mentioned in the MediCan’s legal notice – “as far as I know, according to the file, they have not yet been questioned”. Overall, Peters said of the allegations: “If there are reclaims here, then that will be reimbursed in full. That is no question at all.” His client did not try to disguise anything either, but made everything very open. “I just think that some things may have been misunderstood here. But I don’t see any intention of fraud behind this at all.”
Doctors who were almost never on site
Had only last week WDR , NDR and SZ reports how easy it makes the test regulation to charge excessive prices for rapid tests to the federal government .
Suspected fraud Arrests at the rapid test operator One suspect was arrested during a raid, the other had surrendered, said the prosecutor.
Until the MediCan case was uncovered, the imprint of the chain’s website also listed three medical professionals as “doctors responsible for carrying out the test and training staff”. Since then, the names of these doctors have disappeared. In principle, citizens’ tests that are carried out in rapid test centers under medical supervision can be charged three euros more per test than normal rapid test centers, whose remuneration is capped at 18 euros per test. All three MediCan doctors mentioned were employed full-time as plastic surgeons in a hospital in Lower Saxony, as the hospital confirmed on request, which did not know anything about the secondary activity of the employees. According to his own information, Dr. W. has been working for MediCan since December, Dr. P. and Dr. A. on the other hand only since April. Your task was to “answer telephone queries from the on-site staff,” as the clinic announced on behalf of the doctors. Dr. W. also carried out on-site staff training. He also checked on site every one to two weeks whether the hygiene regulations were being adhered to. “Messrs. Dr. P. and A. were never on site,” the clinic announced on request.
In future there will be no more differentiation in billing
It is not entirely clear whether and when test centers are allowed to charge the higher medical price for rapid tests. While the North Rhine Association of Statutory Health Insurance Physicians emphasizes that “a doctor must be physically on site” and the KV Berlin also states that a licensed physician “must be constantly present”, Roland Stahl, spokesman for the Federal Association of Statutory Health Insurance Physicians, announces that the doctor will Smear sampling could be delegated, but had to be “mostly on site”.
Corona tests Test providers will get less money from July So far, operators of corona test sites have been able to charge 18 euros per test – this amount will soon be reduced significantly.
The Ministry of Health, in turn, takes the position that a rapid test center can only bill as a medical service provider if “the medical management is closely involved in the care and organizational structures”. It is “not absolutely necessary that the doctor is permanently physically present”. “At the same time, however, it is not sufficient if a test site is formally under medical supervision, for example because it is run by a higher-level company under medical supervision,” writes the department. Before the case became known, 54 test centers nationwide were listed on MediCan’s website, Oguzhan C. himself said that the company had 102 locations. It is noticeable that not only MediCan, but also many test providers advertise the names of doctors on their websites. It is unclear who also bills the higher rate as a medical service provider, especially since the statutory health insurance associations do not answer any questions about individual providers. The sums they pay out are ultimately taxpayers’ money.
There is also a security gap in MediCan
The Federal Ministry of Health wants to end this confusion with the new test regulation. In the future there should no longer be a difference between “the remuneration of medical and non-medical service providers”. In the future, both should only get eight euros for the test and a flat rate for the test material. Some test site operators such as Hamburg’s top dog Moritz Fürste are already complaining that they will then no longer be able to work profitably and will have to close their centers. On the LinkedIn platform, Fürste writes: “If I were to reduce it to eight euros, I would have no choice but to close everything.”
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At Medican there is also the fact that the company apparently also had data security problems. The full names, date of birth, email address and registration date of the customers could therefore be viewed with little effort. This emerges from a report by the IT security collective “Zerforschung” to the Federal Office for Information Security (BSI), the WDR , NDR and SZ is available. Accordingly, booking codes from customers were only available with the seven-digit time stamp of the registration. This made it possible to see the personal data of customers from May: “In short samples, more than 15 percent of the attempts were successful,” the report says. It was no longer possible to determine whether test results could also be viewed. MediCan’s lawyer confirmed that there was a data gap in the booking confirmations. The server is now offline. MediCan’s test centers no longer exist.