Walmart and Home Depot Employ Copay Accumulators to Keep Employee Healthcare Costs Down and Encourage Utilization of Generic Prescription Drugs

While clinical laboratories may not be directly affected by copay accumulators, anything that affects patients’ ability to pay for healthcare will likely impact lab revenues as well Here’s a new term and strategy that some big employers are deploying in an attempt to control the choice of health benefits provided to their employees. The term is “copay accumulator” and it is intended to offset efforts by pharmaceutical companies to minimize what consumers must pay out-of-pocket for expensive...

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...

FDA Authorizes 23andMe to Report Results of Direct-to-Consumer Pharmacogenetics Test to Customers without a Prescription, Bypassing Doctors and Clinical Laboratories

FDA cautions patients to not use data gained from the DTC test to make healthcare decisions on their own Clinical laboratories continue to be impacted by the growing direct-to-consumer (DTC) testing market, as more walk-in lab customers order at-home tests. Now, the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has authorized a DTC test company to provide results of a pharmacogenetic (PGx) test to customers without needing a doctor’s order. This is the first genetic test of its kind to receive such...

Balance Billing Under Increased Scrutiny at Both State and Federal Levels; Clinical Laboratory Tests Top List of Surprise Bills Received by Patients

Experts blame insurance regulators for not ensuring the adequacy of healthcare networks that include hospital-based physicians, such as pathologists and radiologists According to a recent study, clinical laboratories, anatomic pathologists, radiologists, and anesthesiologists top the list of providers who bill patients for the difference between what they charge for their services and a hospital’s contracted reimbursement rates. This so-called “balance-billing” not only causes hardship for...