Whistleblower Lawsuit Alleges Massive Fraud in Cigna Medicare Advantage Plans

A former officer of a Cigna contractor claims the insurer hatched a scheme to submit invalid diagnostic codes and filed the now-unsealed qui tam action in 2017 In a case that could provide a cautionary tale for clinical laboratories, a federal whistleblower lawsuit alleges that Cigna, through its HealthSpring subsidiary, “received billions in overpayments from the federal government” in a scheme involving the insurer’s Medicare Advantage plans. The Qui tam (whistleblower) lawsuit was filed by...

Where Did all the Antibodies Go? Emory University’s Vaccine Center Studies Bone Marrow to Find Out Why Influenza Vaccines are Short-Lived

Pathologists and clinical laboratory scientists know that influenza vaccines typically produce short-lived protection and researchers have new clues as to why this is true With so much interest in development of a COVID-19 vaccine, findings by researchers at Atlanta’s Emory Vaccine Center into why the vaccine for influenza (Flu) is so short-lived offer a new window on how the body’s immune system responds to invading viruses and what happens to the immunity over time. Because the autumn...

Teladoc Health’s Agreement to Acquire Livongo Is a Blockbuster Deal in the Telehealth Sector, But Is it Positive or Negative for Clinical Laboratories?

Physician acceptance of virtual visits with their patients is being accelerated by the pandemic and the pending merger would combine the nation’s two biggest telehealth companies Telehealth visits with virtual healthcare providers are increasing as the COVID-19 pandemic continues. This is forcing the entire healthcare industry—clinical laboratories in particular—to adapt to new methods of patient data exchange and communications. What is not clear is how independent clinical laboratories and...

New Artificial Intelligence Algorithm Uses Routine Clinical Laboratory Tests to Identify Patients Likely Infected with COVID-19

At hospitals where results of molecular COVID-19 testing can take up to several days to return, this new method for identifying potentially infected patients could improve triage Frustrated by shortages of essential COVID-19 tests and supplies—as well by lengthy coronavirus test turn-around times—researchers at Weill Cornell Medicine have created an Artificial Intelligence (AI) algorithm that can use routine clinical laboratory test data to determine if a patient is infected with SARS-CoV-2,...

Amazon’s Prime Air Drone Fleet Receives FAA Approval to Make Deliveries to Customers, Could Clinical Laboratory Specimens and Supplies be Next?

Delivery of clinical laboratory specimens and medical supplies by drone is beginning to happen in different parts of the world The idea that fleets of flying drones may someday legally transport clinical laboratory specimens may sound good—it may even be beneficial from a healthcare perspective—but it also could be hugely disruptive to medical labs that maintain large and expensive courier/logistics capabilities.  So, the announcement that the FAA had granted approval to Amazon’s new drone...

February COVID-19 Superspreader Event in Boston Confirmed by Use of Genetic Sequencing as Next-Gen Sequencing Is Put to Novel Uses, including in Clinical Laboratories

Gene sequencing is enabling disease tracking in new ways that include retesting laboratory specimens from before the SARS-CoV-2 outbreak to determine when it arrived in the US On February 26 of this year, nearly 200 executives and employees of neuroscience-biotechnology company Biogen gathered at the Boston Marriott Long Wharf hotel for their annual leadership conference. Unbeknownst to the attendees, by the end of the following day, dozens of them had been exposed to and become infected by...