Tue, May

Why Isn’t California Following LAUSD’s Money Saving Program on Covid Testing?

LA WATCHDOG - In June of 2020, the Los Angeles Unified School District contracted with Menlo Park based SummerBio to perform Covid testing services at a cost of approximately $12 per test.

Payment was and is contingent on the quality and accuracy of the tests as well as the overnight delivery of the test results.   

LAUSD also benefitted from a Microsoft data management system (Daily Pass) that provides the school system’s management with accurate and timely information regarding Covid testing and health checks.   

Subsequent to LAUSD entering into the contract with SummerBio, the California Department of Public Health entered into a no bid, multibillion dollar contract with PerkinElmer, a Massachusetts based company with revenues of $3.8 billion, to perform Covid testing at a price of approximately $40 per test.  

Since the outset of the successful SummerBio contract, LAUSD has conducted over 8 million tests on its personnel and students.  Based on the price differential between SummerBio and PerkinElmer, the estimated savings are estimated to be in the range of $250 million.  

Unfortunately, the Department of Public Health has apparently auto renewed a $1.7 billion contract with PerkinElmer for Covid testing despite the substantial price differential. Furthermore, PerkinElmer has consistently failed to deliver test results on a timely basis and has “significant deficiencies” in its Valencia testing laboratory that it has failed to address. 

So why hasn’t the Department of Public Health followed the excellent lead of LAUSD by “piggy backing” off its contract with SummerBio?  It would save considerable time and money. 

The solution is very simple.  Governor Newsom, please call former LAUSD Superintendent Austin Beutner. 

 (Jack Humphreville writes LA Watchdog for CityWatch. He is the President of the DWP Advocacy Committee and is the Budget and DWP representative for the Greater Wilshire Neighborhood Council. He is a Neighborhood Council Budget Advocate. He can be reached at:  [email protected].) 

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