News, Analysis, Trends, Management Innovations for
Clinical Laboratories and Pathology Groups

Hosted by Robert Michel

News, Analysis, Trends, Management Innovations for
Clinical Laboratories and Pathology Groups

Hosted by Robert Michel
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CLMA’s Inaugural ICE Award Recognizes the Initiative at Seattle Children’s Hospital Laboratories that Decreased Unnecessary Genetic Tests while Contributing to Better Patient Outcomes

The Clinical Laboratory Management Association is encouraging medical laboratories to submit abstracts about their programs to deliver more value to patients and physicians through the use of clinical pathology laboratory tests

Now, more than ever, the house of laboratory medicine needs to be publishing clinic studies and evidence that the money spent on appropriate medical laboratory testing is returned tenfold from improved patient outcomes and substantial reductions in the cost per episode of care that can be associated with the use of those lab tests.

It is this credible evidence that can help shape healthcare policy in positive ways, while encouraging government and private payers to recognize the true value of clinical laboratory tests and thus establish adequate reimbursement to insure the continuation of high-quality lab testing services in the United States. (more…)

CLMA Is Launching New Program to Help Clinical Laboratories Develop Patient-Centric Services and Deliver More Value to ACOs and Medical Homes

To help medical laboratories understand how to deliver patient-centric lab testing services, the Clinical Laboratory Management Association (CLMA) has launched its “Increasing Clinical Effectiveness” (ICE) program. CLMA President Paul Epner (pictured above) will be conducting a free webinar about the ICE program on August 12 and the details of ICE and the webinar can be found at the CLMA website. (Photo copyright CLMA.)

Increasing Clinical Effectiveness’ is the name of new initiative that CLMA is making available to all medical laboratories and anatomic pathology groups

There is now little disagreement that the U.S. healthcare system is in the midst of a transformation away from reactive and acute care and to proactive, integrated clinical care. This is why clinical laboratories and anatomic pathology groups across the nation now find themselves at a critical crossroads.

This trend presents medical laboratory managers, pathologists, and clinical chemists who lead the nation’s labs with an important question: When is it time to shift the lab’s focus away from its traditional “lab-centric” emphasis and position the lab as a “patient-centric” clinical service?

Clinical Laboratories and Pathologists Dodge a Bullet as CMS Publishes Proposed Repeal Rule Dealing with Physician Signature Requirement on Paper Requisitions for Lab Tests

Proposed repeal rule was published in yesterday’s Federal Register

Yesterday, pathologists and clinical laboratory managers got an early Fourth of July present. That’s because the federal Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) published the proposed rule that repeals the requirement that paper requisitions for medical laboratory tests must have the physician’s signature.

This rule had been mandated by the 2011 Medicare Physician Fee Schedule Rule that was to take effect on January 1, 2011. In response to the negative response to this rule from important sectors of healthcare, including laboratory medicine professionals, hospital groups, and physician associations, as well as both Houses of Congress, CMS deferred implementation of the rule for the first 90 days of 2011. (See Dark Daily, “Good News for Clinical Laboratories as CMS Delays Physician’s Signature Requirement, December 22, 2010.


Good News for Clinical Laboratories as CMS Delays Physician’s Signature Requirement

Medicare Program Won’t Enforce the New Rule For At Least 90 Days

Yesterday brought welcome news for all clinical laboratories and pathology group practices in the United States. That’s because the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) posted an announcement on its website that it would delay enforcement of the final rule requiring that physician’s signatures be on all paper requisitions for Medicare patients starting January 1, 2011. This includes laboratory test requisitions.

This rule was part of the Final Medicare Physician Fee Schedule Rule published in the Federal Register on November 29, 2010. In short, once enacted, the rule will require all paper requisitions sent to Medicare to have a doctor’s signature to be reimbursed. (more…)

Inside the Recent CLMA and USCAP Meetings

Last week, The Dark Report was in San Diego and Houston to attend the annual meetings of the United States & Canadian Academy of Pathology (USCAP) and the Clinical Laboratory Management Association (CLMA). Time spent in the exhibit halls of both meetings spoke volumes about the changing trends in the laboratory profession.

First was the USCAP meeting, conducted in San Diego, California. This is a growing meeting and attracts more than 3,000 pathologists from countries around the world. One can hear many different languages spoken as one walks among the crowd between sessions. The exhibit hall of USCAP is also growing. It featured 245 exhibitors and represented a good cross section of companies selling instrument systems, consumables, and services to anatomic pathology laboratories.

Of particular note were two things seen in USCAP’s exhibition hall. First, there was an intriguing spread of companies offering digital solutions for anatomic pathology. Technology is advancing and, even if the current generation of products fall a bit short of the functionality desired by customers, it is clear that lots of money is being invested to advance all aspects of pathology informatics and digital imaging. Second, molecular pathology was definitely a major product sector at this exhibition. Whether it was the marketing of new diagnostic assays or companies offering services in molecular pathology, there was high interest in how molecular pathology could be used to provide higher quality diagnostic support to pathologists and their referring clinicians.

Following the USCAP meeting, I flew to Houston, Texas to catch the CLMA annual meeting. Just as laboratory consolidation in the hospital industry over the past decade has steadily concentrated laboratory management duties into the hands of fewer people, CLMA has seen a corresponding shift in the numbers of attendees and the composition of vendors in its exhibition hall. One obvious difference from past years is the lower profile of several in vitro diagnostic (IVD) companies at this year’s event. Yet, a survey of vendors throughout the exhibition hall indicated that the people passing through the exhibition were qualified buyers and their expectation was that new business would be result from their participation at the exhibition.

Just as at the USCAP exhibition hall, CLMA’s exhibitor line-up featured a growing number of software and informatics vendors compared to past years. I take this as a sign that laboratory directors and pathologists are taking active steps to use information technology to guide their management of laboratory operations and work flow. The range of middleware solutions and vendors on the exhibition floor would be a response by vendors to the demand for those functions by laboratory customers.

Another observation was gained from attendance at the annual meetings of USCAP and CLMA. There is plenty of optimism about the future of laboratory medicine among attendees and vendors at both events. Despite the rapid pace of change in healthcare and unfavorable reimbursement trends, pathologists and laboratory managers believe that new diagnostic tests and advances in laboratory medicine are giving them important new tools to help patients and their physicians.

Your traveling editor,
Robert Michel

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