'Free' Bone Marrow Tests Promoted by Models Cost Up to $4,300: Attorney General

Bone Marrow test scamSexy models have been luring customers to register as bone marrow donors. Sounds like a good thing for a good cause, right?

But the New Hampshire attorney general said when would-be donors took the bait, they, or their insurance companies, were charged up to $4,300 for a test that was supposed to be free.New Hampshire Attorney General Michael Delaney said in a statement that the Boston-modeling agency was hired by the Caitlin Raymond International Registry, an international bone marrow and cord blood recruitment center. According to the CRIR website, more than eight million donors in 46 countries are registered with the group, which is affliated with UMass Memorial Health Care in Worcester, Mass.

The modeling agency was paid between $40,000 and $50,000 a week to send representatives to dozens of malls, says Delaney. He says they wore high heels and black skirts to the job.

"Both Caitlin Raymond and UMass Memorial Health Care have agreed to suspend all operations in New Hampshire effective tomorrow morning while our joint investigation is ongoing," Delaney said.

Officials said that the test -- which involves a cheek swab -- was free. But the UMass lab billed the donors' insurance companies anywhere from $100 to $4,300 per test.

"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.

The Caitlin Raymond Registry and UMass Memorial Health Care issued a statement acknowledging that they did use models but that the practice had stopped. They also said they have stopped all of their recruiting work in New Hampshire, though the efforts will continue in Massachusetts and elsewhere.

For more information about bone marrow donation, check out Mayoclinic.com.
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