(Image: Wikimedia Commons)Walgreens will no longer have its tests for customers performed at healthcare startup Theranos’s Newark, Calif., laboratory after the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) reported violations of a number of clinical policies.

According to the The New York Times, the letter from the agency noted five deficiencies, including a serious one in the area of hematology that posed “immediate jeopardy to patient health and safety.”

In a statement last week Theranos said that the findings do not relate to their Arizona lab, which is where over 90 percent of their tests are processed, and asserted that the survey “is not a reflection of the current state” of the lab in Newark.

Theranos also said it already addressed a number of items brought up in the report, would continue to do so and would “submit a full plan of correction to CMS within days.”

Walgreens issued a statement that said it was also suspending laboratory services at its Palo Alto, Calif., store.

“Walgreens informed Theranos that tests collected at 40 Theranos Wellness Centers located at stores in Arizona must be sent only to Theranos’s certified lab in the Phoenix area or to an accredited third-party lab for analysis,” the Walgreens statement explained. “No patient samples will be sent to the Newark lab until all issues raised by CMS have been fully resolved.”

The Verge reported that a Walgreens spokesperson said prior to the release of the CMS letter that the drugstore chain is “currently in discussions about the next phase of our relationship.”

A Theranos spokesperson told The Verge, “We are open for business, confident in our technologies and unwavering in our commitment to provide Arizonans with the care and service they deserve.”

Theranos, founded by Elizabeth Holmes in 2003, specializes in a number of blood tests said to offer a cheaper, more accurate alternative to traditional laboratory testing. 

The company came under scrutiny after the Wall Street Journal called into question the accuracy of some of its claims.

Contributing Editor/Science Writer