Oklahoma has a booming urine testing industry…
9:59 AM EDT on July 11, 2016
Move over and pass the cup, Frackers. There's a new booming industry in town!
The Oklahoma attorney general's office is investigating a group of laboratories involved in the state's booming urine testing industry, The Oklahoman has learned.
While the investigation has yet to be officially confirmed, documents obtained through an open records request show the agency's Medicaid Fraud Control Unit is looking into some urine testing laboratories doing millions of dollars in business with Oklahoma health care providers.
Will Gattenby, attorney general spokesman, said the agency can't share much information because of “the sensitive nature of the investigation.”
Normally I frown at BS statements like this from the AG's office. Just give us the details! But... they do have a point on this one. Pissing in small cup and then placing it in a box for a $8 an hour phlebotomist to handle is kind of a private, sensitive topic. It's even more so when you're using someone else's urine that you bought on the Internet to pass the test.
“The attorney general's office does not typically discuss investigative matters, including if an investigation exists, but we understand unnecessary lab testing is an issue nationwide,” Gattenby said in a written statement. “While some testing is an integral part of the practice of medicine, urine lab testing is often ordered without a corresponding benefit to the care and treatment of the patient.”
According to industry experts, court records and reports released by the U.S. Department of Justice in recent years, pain management doctors are responsible for ordering most of the expensive urine tests, which can cost hundreds, even thousands of dollars apiece.
Financial records provided by the Oklahoma Health Care Authority, the state's Medicaid agency, show that a handful of laboratories have received nearly $100 million in reimbursements since 2011 for testing the urine of chronic pain patients, recovering addicts and others routinely prescribed narcotics by a physician...
Over the past five years, the urine testing industry has exploded in Oklahoma, a trend that has paralleled the state's well-documented struggles with prescription drug abuse, most notably opioid painkillers...
In 2011, urine testing laboratories received $3.7 million from the Oklahoma Health Care Authority. By the end of 2014, those same reimbursements had increased to $32 million — up more than 700 percent in just three years, agency records show.
That's stupid. How can we not afford to send kids to school five days a week, but still be able to muster up enough to change to fund drug tests for opioid addicts. That's infuriating, but on a positive note, at least Oklahoma has a booming industry again. I'm sure the people who run our thriving private prison and law enforcement industries were getting lonely at the top.
Anyway, since Devon Energy decides what goes on at the Attorney General's office, I nearly emailed Derek Albro for some talking points on how to pass a drug test, but I figured he is probably the wrong person to ask. Plus, he still hasn't responded to any of my emails.
Instead, I figured we should do the same thing we always do when talking about urine on The Lost Ogle and re-live that magical moment Dean the Stream collected a drug test sample live on the radio. It's always good for a laugh.