Laboratory and Pathology News

Survey Reveals US Consumers Choosing PCPs Based on Access to Telehealth Services; Clinical Laboratories Can Capitalize on This Trend

Published: April 28 2017

Sixty-seven percent of surveyed consumers age 45-64 would use telehealth for chronic care management; 79% say video telehealth services would be beneficial in coordinating and administering care of ill and aging relatives

According to a newly released survey, there is a growing interest in telehealth services among healthcare consumers in the US. It’s safe to assume that millennials and “X’ers” are driving this trend. But what does it mean for clinical laboratories?

If certain patients are selecting practices based on digital access to their primary care doctors and medical information, isn’t it also likely those patients also will want similar digital access to their medical laboratory in several dimensions? For example, to: continue reading

Could McKesson Settlement Set a Precedent That Would Require Clinical Laboratories to Track Physician Test Ordering?

Published: April 26 2017

McKesson agreed to pay a $150 million settlement for not reporting suspicious opioid orders and this case establishes a precedent that could ensnare other providers

In today’s world of the Internet-of-Things, it is becoming easier to collect data on every purchase made by individuals and companies. That ability to track the actions of consumers and commercial business has not escaped the notice of law enforcement and regulatory authorities. For example, at some future point, it could be that regulators would want to access data held by clinical laboratories on the test ordering patterns of their client physicians.

A recent ruling by the US Department of Justice (DOJ) in a case involving McKesson Corp. (NYSE:MCK), may set a precedent that could eventually be cause for concern for medical laboratories that work with physicians who may be ordering more tests than are considered medically necessary under current regulations.

McKesson is a retail distributor of pharmaceuticals, and provider of health information and care management technologies and medical supplies. In a settlement with the DOJ, McKesson agreed to pay a record $150 million in civil penalties, as well as a staggered suspension of sales of controlled substances for a period of time from distribution centers in Colorado, Ohio, Florida, and Michigan, for alleged violations of the Controlled Substances Act (CSA). continue reading

Why Some Consumers Love the Affordable Care Act Health Insurance Coverage and Some Consumers Hate It

Published: April 24 2017

Pathologists and clinical laboratory managers need to understand the reasons why different consumers have entirely different financial experiences with the health insurance obtained under the ACA

One of the interesting consequences of the Affordable Care Act is that there are different classes of consumers who have completely different experiences with the health insurance coverage obtained through the ACA’s health insurance exchanges. It is important for pathologists as well as clinical laboratory managers to understand this fascinating outcome from the Affordable Care Act.

On one end of the spectrum are consumers who—because their income is at or just above the poverty line—get ACA health insurance coverage with full or nearly all of the premium subsidized be the federal government. They are the happiest with the law. That is, until they need to pay deductibles of as much as $5,000 per year for individuals and $10,000 per year for a family.

At the other end of the spectrum are the consumers with incomes at or above the 400% of the poverty level. Because these individuals get little or no federal premium subsidy, they are stuck paying the full price of their health insurance coverage. It is this group that is most unhappy with the ACA. And, not only are they paying hefty monthly premiums for coverage, they are also stuck with the $5,000 and $10,000 annual deductible requirements. continue reading