Nation’s clinical laboratories may see significant reductions in federal funding for medical laboratory tests in the 2012 federal budget
Unprecedented cuts in funding for clinical laboratory services are expected from Congress in coming months. That’s because federal legislators need deep cuts from many sources to cope with the current budget crisis. It is also why some Beltway insiders predict that fees for medical laboratory testing will be substantially reduced.
Although many lab industry associations have alerted their members to certain of these proposals—such as the proposed plan to reinstitute the patient co-pay/co-insurance requirement for Medicare Part B Medical Laboratory Tests—few clinical laboratory managers and pathologists know that there are at least three separate proposals to reduce funding for medical laboratory tests. Each proposal has a chance to make it through the legislative pipeline and become part of the final 2012 federal budget.
However, medical laboratory billing/collections is often weak, even at top-performing outreach programs
If there is one bright spot in the revenue picture for many hospitals and health systems, it is how well-run hospital laboratory outreach programs produce strong growth in net revenue and contribution margin. Because of double-digit growth rates for outreach and outpatient procedures, clinical laboratory programs that target office-based physicians can produce impressive results.
“In our annual survey of hospital and health system laboratory outreach programs,” a significant number of participating hospitals report very strong rates of growth in specimen volume and net collected revenue,” stated Kathleen Murphy, Ph.D., who is CEO of Chi Solutions, Inc., based in Ann Arbor, Michigan. “We are regularly surprised at how many of these better-performing hospital lab outreach programs are growing at rates of 12% to 25% per year, sustained over three to more consecutive years. (more…)
Major healthcare stakeholders speaking out with criticisms of federal ACO rules
It may be that the Obama administration bit off more than it can chew with its first release of proposed rules for Accountable Care Organizations (ACO). Lining up in opposition to these rules is an impressive list of the nation’s most respected healthcare organizations. Included are Mayo Clinic, Geisinger Health System, Cleveland Clinic, and Intermountain Healthcare.
Pathologists and clinical laboratory managers will undoubtedly recognize the significance of this opposition. Health officials within the Obama administration have regularly stated that ACOs should be organized to deliver the same type of tightly integrated healthcare that is the standard at Mayo Clinic, Geisinger Health, Cleveland Clinic, and Intermountain Health. Thus, it is not auspicious for the Obama administration that these four institutions are making public statements that, under the ACO rules as now written, they are not inclined to participate.
Managing a multi-generation medical laboratory workforce is a daunting challenge
Here’s a challenge that’s unique in the modern history of medical laboratory management and operations. There are now four different generations of workers employed in clinical laboratories and pathology groups around the nation!
Experts tell us that each generation has a unique set of preferences, work ethics, and personal goals. Thus, a specific management initiative that typically motivates one generation may actually be a disincentive for another generation.
A2LA, CAP, and QMP-LS to Participate in an Informational Event on January 20th
ISO 15189 is gaining a foothold among laboratories in the United States. Since the first clinical pathology laboratory in the U.S. earned accreditation to “ISO 15189:2007 Medical Laboratories” in 2008, there has been a steady increase in the number of clinical laboratories that have embarked on their own path to accreditation.
This fall, The Dark Report and Dark Daily invited all three of the organizations in North America that offer accreditation services for ISO 15189 to speak at the fourth annual Lab Quality Confab, which took place in San Antonio, Texas, on November 2-3, 2010. It marked the first time that all three of these ISO-accrediting organizations spoke in public at one time and in one place. (more…)