When the Center for Covid Control, which is under investigation in multiple states and by the federal government, voluntarily closed down its COVID-19 testing site at 9219 Broadway Ave. on Jan. 14, the village was left without a free walk-up testing site.
On Feb. 7, however, a new free COVID site opened its doors in the Eight Corners district at 9039 Monroe Ave., next door to Boxless Media, whose owner Jason Baumann is a partner in a COVID-19 testing business called Illinois Health Testing Services.
The site will be able to serve walk-up clients on weekdays from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., though there may be weekend times added later, Baumann said.
Illinois Health Testing Services provides both rapid and PCR tests, said Baumann. The rapid test results are available within 15 minutes, he said, while PCR test results are transmitted within 72 hours.
In addition, anyone wishing to have someone come to their home to do the testing can text or call Illinois Health Testing Service at 708-426-1199.
The company’s website can be found at ilhealthtesting.com.
Although other COVID testing operations have drawn scrutiny due to widespread reports of test mishandling, failure to produce test results and sometimes out-and-out fraud, Baumann says his firm is different.
“So many people are doing this wrong,” said Baumann, who is a Brookfield resident as well as business owner. “Especially to do this in my community, I wanted to make sure it’s right.”
As free COVID-19 testing operations go, Illinois Health Testing Services is small. The Brookfield location will be just its third walk-in site and as of last week had seven employees, Baumann said.
Illinois Health Testing Services opened a drive-thru clinic Jan. 24 at the city hall in south suburban Harvey, where Baumann also works as the municipality’s director of communications.
The company, which Baumann incorporated last November according to Illinois Secretary of State records, previously focused on workplace testing for foodservice and manufacturing businesses, Baumann said.
And while the positivity and new case rates have fallen from their omicron variant peaks, Baumann says, “The answer is there’s still a need. People are traveling, going to theaters. We’re doing this to provide a service to the community in a way that can be trusted.”
Baumann says his partner in Illinois Health Testing Services is Aref Abdellatif, whose LinkedIn page indicates he’s a veteran Chicago Fire Department firefighter/paramedic, who serves as the department’s infection control officer and assistant to the special project chief.
Abdellatif has also served as a paramedic instructor and training coordinator. Baumann says that’s where he got to know Abdellatif many years ago. Abdellatif served as Baumann’s instructor when he was training to be a firefighter/paramedic for the Central Stickney Fire Protection District.
Illinois Health Testing Services uses Morton Grove-based Zenix Labs as its testing laboratory. Zenix Labs LLC was incorporated last September by Riffat Pervaiz, who lists his address as a commercial storefront at 2658 W. Devon Ave. in Chicago. That storefront is home to a clothing business called Taj Sari Palace International Ltd., whose manager, apparently a relative, is listed in Illinois Secretary of State Records as Usman Pervaiz.
Riffat Pervaiz is also listed as the manager of a corporation called Design Concepts LLC, doing business as Med Concepts, a Chicago-based medical supplies company with another Devon Avenue address also associated with Taj Sari Palace.
According to the Centers for Disease Control online database, Zenix Labs has been reimbursed nearly $658,000 by the federal government for claims it has made related to COVID testing.
According to Baumann, no one is charged a fee for testing. Those with insurance are asked to provide that information so Zenix Labs can file a claim with them. The balance of any amount not covered by insurance or for anyone who is uninsured is submitted to the federal government for reimbursement.
Zenix handles all of the billing and then pays Illinois Health Testing Services a portion. Baumann said he intends on setting aside a percentage of those proceeds to reinvest in Brookfield. He said that likely will be through things like sponsorships for Brookfield Chamber of Commerce events and other sponsorship opportunities.
“Brookfield is home to me,” Baumann said. “I’ve worked hard over the last couple of years to be invested in this neighborhood.”