Here’s what you may have missed this week in the clinical lab world. It was a busy week…

Group Purchasing Organizations (GPOs) Pushed by Hospital Members to Deliver More Value

Published: April 13 2012

Hospital laboratories may find GPOs respond by contracting with more vendors to expand choices of products

Major changes are unfolding in the world of group purchasing organizations (GPOs). As healthcare’s transformation shifts the clinical and financial emphasis of hospitals, health systems, and other providers, these institutions are changing their relationship with GPOs.

In turn, such trends mean changes in the GPO contracts available to hospital laboratories. In the United States, every hospital and health system is typically a member of at least two GPOs. Thus, the clinical laboratories of these hospitals must also participate in the national contracting programs operated by the GPOs.

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Quest Diagnostics Picks Rusckowski as New President and CEO to Lead the Nation’s Largest Clinical Pathology Company

Published: April 12 2012

Many challenges ahead for Rusckowski because of healthcare’s unfolding transformation

Yesterday, after the stock markets closed, Quest Diagnostics Incorporated (NYSE: DGX) issued a press release naming Stephen H. Rusckowski as its new President and CEO. He will assume his duties on May 1, 2012. Quest Diagnostics is the nation’s largest clinical laboratory company.

Along with the appointment of its new President and CEO, Quest Diagnostics also announced that Daniel C. Stanzione, Ph.D., would become the Non-Executive Chairman of the Board for the Madison, New Jersey-based company. Stanzione has served as a Director on the Quest Board since 2004.

To ensure an orderly transition, Surya N. Mohapatra, Ph.D., the current Chairman, President, and CEO, will continue his duties through April 30, 2012. It was on October 25, 2011, when Quest Diagnostics disclosed a succession plan and stated that Mohapatra, now 61 years old, would serve for an additional six months as the company conducted its search for another CEO.

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CALPERS Saves $15 Million in Health Premiums Because Proactive Care Reduced Hospital Inpatient Admissions

Published: April 11 2012

Clinical laboratories and pathology groups may need to re-strategize should hospital inpatient admission rates begin declining as a result of proactive clinical care programs

More hospitals are ramping up their services in proactive outpatient care. The goal is to reduce hospital admissions and curb costs. The challenge is that fewer admissions and shorter stays mean a drop in hospital revenues. For the hospitals’ clinical laboratories, it also means less inpatient lab test volumes.

Hospitals are doing this in response to changes in reimbursement models specifically designed to incentivize providers to keep people out of hospitals. Of all sites that deliver patient care, hospitals account for the greatest share of the nation’s healthcare dollar. This makes them a prime target for cost cutting, noted a recent story in Modern Healthcare (MH).

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In Bristol, England, Errors in Anatomic Pathology Is an Issue That Refuses to Die

Published: April 9 2012

Critics of an inquiry into histopathology errors at the Royal Bristol Infirmary argue that as many as 6,800 cases over eight year may have errors in diagnosis

In Bristol, England, the issue of serious errors in the anatomic pathology service of the Bristol Royal Infirmary (BRI) during the years 2000 to 2008 refuses to go away. Earlier this year, critics of an inquiry commissioned by the parent health trust became vocal once again after public notice was given of plans to consolidate histopathology services in the region.

These critics continue to be upset about how the inquiry into ongoing problems with the anatomic pathology service at BRI was conducted during 2009 and 2010. Newspapers in the United Kingdom have given the story wide play. Stories were published about pathology errors at BRI and the public learned about the misdiagnoses of specific cancer patients whose names became known.

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