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Not Sure That Was Needed

The Atlanta Journal-Constitution and an Atlanta TV news station are investigating cases of suspected genetic test fraud in that city, including the case of a woman with bipolar disorder and mood swings who got a $10,700 bill in the mail after her psychiatrist collected a mouth swab sample in his office earlier this year.

"Brown was never told that her psychiatrist needed her DNA and no one from his office counseled her on the test results, she said. … What's more, a consent form Brown was supposed to sign lacks her signature. And whoever wrote in her name in looping script misspelled it," reports Willoughby Mariano.

As part of a broader probe by the US Department of Justice, the owner of the lab that billed for that test was reportedly indicted on felony fraud and other charges.

"LabSolutions owner Minal Patel used kickbacks and bribes to get patients to undergo cancer genetic testing regardless of whether they needed it, using telemedicine doctors to approve the tests, prosecutors in Operation Double Helix said," according to the piece. 

In late September, dozens of people had charges filed against them as part of the same operation, as US federal agents are continuing to crack down on cases of potential genetic test fraud.

Fox 5 Atlanta's Dana Fowle reported on the rise in Medicare fraud cases being linked to genetic testing in Georgia and beyond back in October. At the time, the Health and Human Services Office of the Inspector General's Derrick Jackson noted that "nearly every part of the healthcare industry is getting in on offering unneeded DNA tests to the elderly then billing Medicare for it."

In the case flagged by The Atlanta Journal-Constitution, the woman received a bill for the test when her insurer called the test "medically unproven and unnecessary for her treatment."

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