The United States Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) recently announced it will invest $6.5 million into two commercial diagnostic labs. The agency has stated it expects the labs, one in Nashville, TN the other in Austin, TX, to use the funds to boost staffing and infrastructure with an ultimate goal of increasing their COVID-19 testing capacities.
#1: Such funds come with a catch
Government funds, such as these, generally come with a catch. In this case, the HHS has outlined specific expectations for the funds. As such, it is good practice for this group of labs as well as any diagnostic labs that receives such funds to expect and prepare for at least some level of oversite. Labs can take proper preparations by keeping good records. This will help lab executives back if questioned by the government in the future. Repercussions are likely if the labs fail to meet these expectations.
#2: Government repercussions can be harsh
In the past, government agencies have followed through to ensure medical facilities use the funds as intended. The government can investigate and potentially claw back the funds if it is concerned the lab did not use the funds appropriately. In addition to attempts to recoup the money, allegations of criminal wrongdoing can also result if the government is able to find evidence the funds were misused.
#3: Labs do not need to go it alone
Labs that face allegations of wrongdoing are not alone. Federal and state law allow these labs to seek legal counsel to help defend their business practices and fight back against allegations of wrongdoing.