HDL confirms layoffs amid lawsuit, federal investigation - NBC12 - WWBT - Richmond, VA News On Your Side

HDL confirms layoffs amid lawsuit, federal investigation

RICHMOND, VA (WWBT) - Health Diagnostics Laboratory, Inc. confirmed layoffs at its Richmond headquarters on Tuesday.

A spokesperson for the company confirmed they will reduce their workforce by 132 people.  NBC12 cameras captured several people leaving the Richmond office with boxes, but they did not want to speak on camera.

"HDL, Inc. has made the strategic decision to return to its core mission: fighting cardiovascular disease and diabetes with innovative cutting-edge, advanced laboratory testing that can lead to earlier diagnosis and treatment," said Dr. Joe McConnell, HDL Inc. president and CEO. "In recent years, HDL, Inc. had become involved in a number of non-core business interests that required significant time, attention and resources. The need to reallocate our resources to return to our core mission is what led to the reduction in force."

The move comes in the wake of the previous president and CEO abruptly stepping down in late September, a reported $83 million lawsuit by insurance company Cigna and a federal investigation over kickbacks and fraud.

Tonya Mallory is now serving as only an advisor and board member at the company and Dr. McConnell has taken over the posts. Mallory told employees she was leaving to help her brother get a new company off the ground and praised the company and Dr. McConnell for their work.

Cigna sued HDL last month in federal court, claiming over HDL was involved in a scheme to collect "exorbitant reimbursement rates for thousands of claims," reported Forbes. The federal investigation, reported by the Wall Street Journal, focuses on $20 kickbacks HDL offered doctors to order tests. HDL has denied the allegations.

As recently as 2010, HDL was rapidly expanding its Richmond operations, with a $4.2 million investment in the Virginia BioTechnology Research Park near downtown. Mayor Dwight Jones and then-governor Bob McDonnell trumpeted the move as a project which would bring more than 200 new jobs to the city.

The company's work helps physicians work with patients to understand chronic disease through comprehensive testing of risk factors and biomarkers for cardiovascular and related diseases.

“We deeply regret the business necessity that made this reduction in force necessary and we are all mindful that this will pose difficulties and challenges for our former colleagues and their families," said Dr. McConnell. "At the same time, these necessary changes provide us with the opportunity to re-energize our company – one with a sharp focus on our core mission as we forge a new future for HDL, Inc.”

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