Published on Jun 05, 2023
The response to a recent records request by The Capitol Forum to the Kentucky Attorney General suggests that the agency’s investigation into genetic testing company Natera (NTRA) has progressed over the last three months, with the agency gathering evidence and potentially preparing for litigation.
The Capitol Forum requested electronic communications held by the Kentucky Attorney General’s office that referenced Natera and were produced within the previous three months. The office identified six new records but refused to release them because doing so would “harm an ongoing investigation in this Office by premature release of information to be used in a prospective law enforcement action or administrative adjudication.”
According to the agency’s denial, five documents were withheld “because they consist of materials pertaining to civil litigation. Specifically, these records are exempt because they are attorney work product… [which] affords a qualified privilege from discovery for documents ‘prepared in anticipation of litigation or for trial.’”
“These records were prepared by this Office or its co-counsel as a part of the litigation process and are, therefore, exempt,” the denial continues.
An additional document was withheld from The Capitol Forum because it related “to preliminary investigative actions (such as interviews, subpoenas, and evidence gathering) that have not yet occurred or been finalized, which, if disclosed, could result in spoliation of evidence or witness tampering if the person(s) and/or entity under investigation were alerted to its contents.”
The Capitol Forum has been closely following the Kentucky Attorney General’s investigation into Natera and the company’s practice of inflating reimbursement requests to state Medicaid programs like Kentucky’s, a practice uncovered by a Capitol Forum investigation.
The recent disclosures from the Kentucky Attorney General’s office indicate that the investigation has progressed since February, when The Capitol Forum reported that the agency was “hammering out official action” and “formulating preliminary recommendations.”
This is not the first time that the Kentucky Attorney General has investigated Natera. Several years ago, then-Attorney General Andy Beshear led a multistate coalition that sued the company for fraudulent billing practices for its Panorama test, securing an $11 million national settlement.
Natera and the Kentucky Attorney General’s office did not respond to a request for comment. In its most recent annual filing, Natera noted that “we are responding to ongoing regulatory and governmental investigations, subpoenas and inquiries, and contesting our current legal matters, and cannot provide any assurance as to the ultimate outcome with respect to any of the foregoing.”