Burlington Labs Becomes Aspenti Health Following Fraud Settlement

BURLINGTON, Vt. - A Burlington drug testing company, in the process of paying off a multi-million dollar fraud settlement, unveiled its new name and leadership team Monday.

“Now we flip the page,” said CEO Chris Powell.

It’s been a tumultuous year for the former Burlington Labs.

Last summer, the company faced the largest Medicaid fraud case in Vermont’s history when it was accused of over-reimbursing Medicaid payments.

The company was bought by a team of investors and forced to pay the state $6.75 million over the next seven years.

Burlington Labs denied that any “knowing or intentional overbilling occurred.”

BLA Partners, LLC acquired Burlington Labs in January 2017.

“The public epidemic around substance use disorder had to have this business continue to thrive and that's what we've been focused on over the last year,” said the new CEO, Chris Powell.   

All but one member of the executive team has been replaced. 

Its new name, Aspenti Health, was unveiled Monday in downtown Burlington.

Aspenti Health processed 1.8 million drug tests last year for 10,000 patients.

Representatives and city leaders say the company plays a crucial role in fighting the heroin epidemic.

“We are going to need to understand the problem far better than we do today and the data and the information that Aspenti has could end up being very important and helpful for that,” said Mayor Miro Weinberger (D - Vermont).

While health is a focus, so is preventing a repeat of the past.

Powell says keeping track of Medicaid reimbursements keeps him up at night.

“We're building infrastructure every day to make sure that happens, checks and balances, our partner at UVM is providing compliance oversight as well. Our board is built of health care executives that understand the importance of compliance,” he explained.

While the headquarters, office space and patient services will remain at the Burlington location on Main Street, the lab facility is moving to Community Drive in South Burlington.
“This is not the best place for a lab given the building and age and other issues,” said Powell.

South Burlington city officials say the lab is moving into 30 Community Drive.

“We're certainly happy to have them join our South Burlington business community,” said South Burlington city manager Kevin Dorn.

Dorn says the city’s medical industry sector is on the rise.

“We think of Tilly Drive and the office buildings there affiliated with UVM Medical Center, the whole Timberlane area,” said Dorn.

CEO Chris Powell says the move will happen in the next 8-9 months.

"There's an opportunity for us to reimagine this whole collection process, so that it provides dignity to the patients and helps facilitate recovery and treatment,” he said. “That's what we're going to do here."
   
He says he is also focused on employing people in recovery.


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