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Thursday, December 16, 2010

NH shuts down marrow registry

CONCORD - New Hampshire Attorney General Michael Delaney and Insurance Commissioner Roger Sevigny have shut down a bone marrow registry pending an investigation into its marketing and billing practices.

Officials said that the Caitlin Raymond International Registry, affiliated with UMass Memorial Health Care in Worcester, Mass., spent $40,000 to $50,000 a week on models to work booths at malls and special events, soliciting donors. Registry representatives told customers the tests would cost nothing, but billed insurance companies up to $4,300 per test. The tests typically cost around $100.

"This conduct is outrageous and both my office and the Department of Insurance intend to vigorously investigate and review their tactics and take appropriate action," Delaney said Wednesday. Meanwhile, he said, both the registry and UMass Memorial Health Care have agreed to stop doing business in New Hampshire immediately, while the investigation remains open.

Officials opened the investigation after at the request of Manchester Mayor Theodore Gatsas, after some Manchester city employees brought the inflated bills to the city's attention.

"I want to thank Mayor Gatsas for his vigilance in identifying this scam and bringing it to our attention for investigation," Delaney said.

- Andrew Wolfe