New CMS Final Rule Makes Clinical Laboratory Test/Procedure Pricing Listed on Hospital Chargemasters Available to Public

Experts are skeptical of the value of public price lists based on hospital chargemasters due to complexity and poor reflection of actual costs In another big step toward helping consumers view prices of medical procedures when selecting providers, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) passed the IPPS/LTCH PPS final rule, which requires hospitals to post a full list of hospital pricing information on their websites starting January 1, 2019. Clinical laboratories, anatomic...

Yale Study Finds Obtaining Personal Medical Records from Hospitals Can Be Difficult for Many Patients

The researchers also found unnecessarily confusing policies and procedures for requesting medical records, such as clinical laboratory test results Clinical laboratories and anatomic pathology groups looking for ways to improve their customers’ experience should give high priority to ensuring patients have easy, accurate access to their own health records. This would, apparently, set them apart from many hospital health networks if a recent study conducted by Yale University School of Medicine...

Microbiologists Take Note! UPenn Study Using Next-Generation Sequencing Finds Stethoscopes Harbor Vast Amounts of Bacteria, Including Staphylococcus Aureus, Which Causes Deadly Hospital-Acquired Infections

Researchers also found Staph and other bacteria on stethoscopes after they had been cleaned, leading to scrutiny of cleaning agents and methods Microbiologists, anatomic pathologists, and clinical laboratory leaders should be intrigued by a university study which found stethoscopes worn by caregivers contained vast amounts of bacteria, including Staphylococcus aureus (Staph), a major cause of hospital-acquired infections (HAIs). Using next-generation DNA sequencing, University of Pennsylvania...

Utah Public Employees Receive Transportation and a $500 Cash Bonus to Purchase Prescriptions in Mexico

Pharmaceutical tourism, like medical tourism, casts light on healthcare’s true costs and identifies patient populations that bear the brunt of growing drug prices You’ve heard of medical tourism, where patients travel to other countries to receive low-cost, high-quality medical care. Now the State of Utah is introducing “pharmaceutical tourism” to state employees, who will be paid to make trips to Mexico to purchase certain prescription drugs. The State of Utah is not alone in its use of this...

With Experienced Baby Boomers Retiring in Ever-Larger Numbers, Clinical Laboratories and Pathology Groups Use New Methods to Improve Productivity, Reduce Costs

All labs face the challenge of coping with shrinking budgets and staffing shortages, which is why coaching, management observation, and continuous improvement initiatives are proving helpful to medical laboratories It’s the biggest generational shift since baby boomers began working in clinical laboratories and anatomic pathology groups. Across the nation, labs are watching their most experienced and knowledgeable medical technologists and other lab scientists retire. The need to train their...

UnitedHealth Group to Launch Electronic Health Records Platform in 2019; Will It Guide Physicians to Preferred Clinical Laboratory Providers?

Leveraging the user base of its existing Rally mobile wellness platform, UnitedHealth Group plans to expand its new electronic health records system to 50 million benefited members and one million healthcare providers by the end of 2019 Before the end of 2019, UnitedHealth Group plans to introduce an electronic health records (EHR) system that it developed internally. It has a ready market for such a system because of its 50 million beneficiaries and one million providers. But this EHR may...