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New Information On NorthShore Clinical Labs Now At The Center Of A Federal Investigation

CHICAGO (CBS) -- There's new information about the COVID testing company at the center of a federal investigation.

NorthShore Clinical Labs tested hundreds of thousands of samples leaving many with delayed results and in some cases no results at all.

On Wednesday, CBS 2's Chris Tye broke the story of NorthShore Clinical labs. He has new details on past problems that lead to contracts canceled with a Chicago suburb.

In the weeks before Christmas 2020, the city of Berwyn hired NorthShore Clinical Labs to run a few drive through testing labs. The city said the company failed to get them results in the agreed upon time.

It lead the city to not only leave NorthShore and find a new lab service. It changed its vetting process to make sure the NorthShore issues never happen again.

On the last day of last year, NorthShore Clinical labs terminated contracts with all third party collection sites. Those pop-up testing locations that sent their samples to NorthShore for results. The lab said they were overrun with samples and they couldn't keep up.

CBS 2 heard from all sorts of past patients. One person tested Christmas Eve and didn't get a result for 21 days. Another person tested Christmas week learned just this week NorthShore was "unable to test it due to the instability of the sample." And another person still waiting for a result from a December 20th test.

"That's deeply concerning."

CBS 2 brought the matter to Governor JB Pritzker, whose department of public health is investigating NorthShore and two other labs who together have been reimbursed over $300 million dollars from the Centers For Disease Control.

"Obviously, this is something we need to prosecute, if in fact people have broken the law," Pritzker said.

While it's still unclear if laws were broken it appears promises have been. CBS 2 obtained a letter from City of Berwyn Emergency Management Coordinator Tony Laureto dated December 7th 2020 -- 13 months ago.

"On December 3rd of 2020, the testing company, NorthShore Testing Labs was dismissed from service to the Berwyn community and the 12/6/20 drive up testing was canceled."

"The inability to provide test results in a timely manner and in the prescribed time line they had agreed to, left me no choice but to leave NorthShore Testing and seek other testing labs."

NorthShore apologized to Berwyn residents saying "regional shortage of material" and "phone numbers being illegible" were to blame.

This year, NorthShore said delays were due to samples coming in at 10 times capacity. Patients that never got a test result was due to samples that were damaged or improperly stored.

CBS 2 reached out to NorthShore for an interview today and the company declined. It did offer us a number of statements including "No lab could have handled" the increase in cases they saw in December." As for Berwyn, it calls it a "single instance of a dissatisfied client."


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