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Clinical Laboratories and Pathology Groups

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Wastewater Analysis Continues to be an Effective Tool for Tracking Deadly Infectious Diseases in Human Communities

In addition to viruses, wastewater analysis can also be used to detect the presence of chemical substances such as opioids

Wastewater surveillance and analysis continues to be a useful tool for detecting the prevalence of viruses such as SARS-CoV-2, influenza, and respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) in a community. Perhaps more importantly, wastewater surveillance can fill in gaps where clinical laboratory testing data may be days or weeks behind the true spread of viral infections.

One sign of the value of testing wastewater for infectious diseases is the fact that government officials are financing a continuing program of wastewater testing. In September, the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) awarded a contract to conduct wastewater surveillance/analysis worth millions of dollars to Verily Life Sciences, a Google company, rather than renewing its contract with Biobot Analytics, which had been doing the work since 2020. One interesting twist in the award of this contract is how an ensuing dispute pulled the plug on a significant portion of the wastewater analysis in this country.

In their September Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report (MMWR), the CDC highlighted a CDC study during which wastewater samples were taken from 40 wastewater treatment plants located in Wisconsin’s three largest cities. The samples were collected weekly and tested for influenza and RSV. The findings were then compared with data regarding emergency department (ED) visits for those diseases.

The CDC found that higher detections of flu and RSV were associated with higher rates of ED visits for both illnesses. The study also suggests that wastewater might detect the spread of these viruses earlier than ED visit data alone.

Peter DeJonge, PhD

“During the COVID-19 pandemic, wastewater surveillance for SARS-CoV-2 provided valuable insight into community incidence of COVID-19,” said Peter DeJonge, PhD (above), a CDC Career Epidemiology Field Officer, in an interview with Infectious Disease Special Edition. “[The CDC’s] report supports the idea that wastewater surveillance also has the potential to serve as a useful method with which to track community spread of influenza and RSV.” Local clinical laboratories are also involved in the CDC’s wastewater surveillance programs. (Photo copyright: CDC.)

Keeping Communities Informed about Spread of Viral Infections

The CDC’s study was conducted from August 2022 to March 2023. The wastewater samples from all three cities tested positive for the viruses in advance of increases in ED visits. After the ED visits for those viruses had subsided, the viral material remained in sewersheds for up to three months. 

“Both influenza and RSV can cause substantial amounts of illness, hospitalization, and even death during annual epidemics, which often occur during winter months in the US,” Peter DeJonge, PhD, a CDC Career Epidemiology Field Officer assigned to the Chicago Department of Public Health, told Infectious Disease Special Edition (IDSE). “Clinical providers and public health officials benefit from surveillance data to understand when and where these diseases are spreading in a community each year. This type of data can help prepare clinics [and clinical laboratories] for anticipated cases, tailor public health messaging, and encourage timely vaccination.”

“The collective burden from these respiratory viruses is staggering. With these viruses circulating simultaneously and potentially shifting in seasonality and severity, communities must be able to understand the full impact of each of these illnesses to inform awareness and public health responses that can prevent infections, hospitalizations, and even deaths,” said Mariana Matus, PhD, CEO and cofounder of Biobot Analytics, in an August press release announcing the launch of a “Respiratory Illnesses Panel” that will monitor wastewater for Influenzas A and B (seasonal flu), Respiratory Syncytial Virus (RSV), and SARS-CoV-2 (COVID-19).

“Traditional testing methods for these illnesses do not provide a comprehensive picture of the number of people infected due to inaccurate reporting, as well as asymptomatic or misdiagnosed cases,” Matus continued. “By monitoring wastewater concurrently for influenza, RSV, and SARS-CoV-2, we can fill in these gaps and provide important information to communities.”

CDC Moves to Change Wastewater Surveillance Contractor Mid-stream

As new variants of SARS-CoV-2 emerge, a recent contract dispute may be the cause of a time delay in efforts to perform wastewater surveillance for the disease, as well as for other viral infections, according to Politico.

The CDC’s move to replace Biobot Analytics with Verily Life Sciences to do wastewater surveillance has led to Biobot filing a protest with the Government Accountability Office (GAO).

According to World Socialist Web Site (WSWS), “The scope of the [Biobot] contract [to provide extended data for the public health agency’s National Wastewater Surveillance System (NWSS)] included data from more than 400 locations from over 250 counties across the entire United States, covering 60 million people. On top of this, Biobot also conducted genomic sequencing to identify the latest variants in circulation.” 

About one quarter of the wastewater testing sites in the country have been shut down due to Biobot’s contract being suspended in September. The remaining 1,200 sites that are not covered under the original contract will continue wastewater testing, Politico reported. 

The GAO hopes to have a decision on the contract dispute in January. Verily says it is ready to proceed with testing in all locations and already has its infrastructure in place. 

“We are committed to working with the CDC to advance the goals of the … testing program, initiate testing on the samples already delivered when allowed to resume work, and make wastewater data available as quickly as possible,” Bradley White, PhD, Principal Scientist/Director at Verily, told Politico.

Under the terms of Verily’s contract, the company will collect samples from wastewater treatment centers cross the county and analyze the samples for COVID-19 and the mpox (monkey pox) virus.

This contract marks the first agreement between the CDC and Verily.

The CDC has not disclosed why it decided to change contractors, but it is probable that cost may have been played a role in the decision. Verily’s contract is for $38 million over the course of five years and Biobot’s most recent contract was for around $31 million for a period of less than 18 months, Politico reported. 

In a LinkedIn post, Matus reported that Biobot had already laid off 35% of its staff due to the contract decision by the CDC. 

Competition in Wastewater Surveillance Market

When seeking viruses in wastewater, scientists use gene-based detection methods to locate and amplify genetic signs of pathogens. But public health officials are just beginning to tap into the potential opportunities that may exist in the analysis of data present in wastewater.

Wastewater surveillance is also being looked at as a way to combat America’s opioid epidemic.

“Wastewater surveillance is becoming more mature and more mainstream month after month, year over year,” Matus told Time

Thus, regardless of which companies end up working with the CDC, it appears that wastewater surveillance and analysis, which requires a great deal of clinical laboratory testing, will continue to help fight the spread of deadly viral infections, as well as possibly the nation’s drug epidemic.

—JP Schlingman

Related Information:

Wastewater Shows COVID Levels Dipping as Hospitalizations Tick Up

How Wastewater Testing Can Help Tackle America’s Opioid Crisis

Wastewater Surveillance May Help Detect Flu, RSV Outbreaks

The Respiratory Illnesses Panel Will Include Monitoring for Influenza A and B, RSV, and SARS-CoV-2

Wastewater Surveillance Data as a Complement to Emergency Department Visit Data for Tracking Incidence of Influenza A and Respiratory Syncytial Virus—Wisconsin, August 2022–March 2023

Biobot Analytics Files Protest against CDC Issuing Wastewater Surveillance Contract to Verily

Biobot Analytics Awarded NIDA Funding for Nationwide Wastewater-based Monitoring Program for High Risk Substance and Others Associated with Health Risks

Wastewater Signals Upswing in Flu, RSV

Biobot Analytics Launches Respiratory Illness Panel

Detecting COVID Surges is Getting Harder, Thanks to a Contract Dispute

Verily Lands $38 Million Deal with CDC for Wastewater Surveillance

Genetic Testing of Wastewater Now Common in Detecting New Strains of COVID-19 and Other Infectious Diseases

San Francisco International Airport First in the Nation to Test Wastewater for SARS-CoV-2 Coronavirus

Gene Sequencing of COVID-19 Outbreak in Minnesota School System Guides Public Health Officials in Slowing Spread of the SARS-CoV-2 Coronavirus

Data was used to create a transmission map that tracked the spread of infections among school athletes and helped public health officials determine where best to disrupt exposure

Genomic sequencing played a major role in tracking a SARS-CoV-2 outbreak in a Minnesota school system. Understanding how and where the coronavirus was spreading helped local officials implement restrictions to help keep the public safe. This episode demonstrates how clinical laboratories that can quickly sequence SARS-CoV-2 accurately and at a reasonable cost will give public health officials new tools to manage the COVID-19 pandemic.

Officials in Carver County, Minn., used the power of genomic epidemiology to map the COVID-19 outbreak, and, according to the Star Tribune, revealed how the B.1.1.7 variant of the SARS-CoV-2 coronavirus was spreading through their community.

“The resulting investigation of the Carver County outbreak produced one of the most detailed maps of COVID-19 transmission in the yearlong history of the pandemic—a chart that looks like a fireworks grand finale with infections producing cascading clusters of more infections,” the Star Tribune reported.

Using genetic sequencing, the Minnesota Department of Health produced the above map of the spread of the COVID-19 through Carver County’s schools. The animated graph includes epidemiological data from “10 high school teams, 10 club teams, 12 teams in a sports association, and three fitness/rec centers.” According to the Star Tribune, “The cluster shows a high ‘attack rate’ of infected people spreading the virus to multiple close contacts. Genomic sequencing found the more infectious B.1.1.7 variant of the virus in about a quarter of cases so far.” Click here to access the interactive version of the map. To see details about specific persons and locations, tap or hover over each dot. (Graphic copyright: Minnesota Department of Health/Star Tribune.)

Private Labs, Academic Labs, Public Health Labs Must Work Together

For gene sequencing to guide policy and decision making as well as it did in Carver County, coordination, cooperation, and standardization among public, private, and academic medical laboratories is required. Additionally, each institution must report the same information in similar formats for it to be the most useful.

In “Staying Ahead of the Variants: Policy Recommendations to Identify and Manage Current and Future Variants of Concern,” the Johns Hopkins Center for Health Security (JHCHS) at the Bloomberg School of Public Health lists recommendations for how to build a coordinated sequencing program.

Priority recommendations include:

  • Maintain Policies That Slow Transmission: Variants will continue to emerge as the pandemic unfolds, but the best chance of minimizing their frequency and impact will be to continue public health measures that reduce transmission. This includes mask mandates, social distancing requirements, and limited gatherings.
  • Prioritize Contact Tracing and Case Investigation for Data Collection: Cases of variants of concern should be prioritized for contact tracing and case investigation so that public health officials can observe how the new variant behaves compared to previously circulating versions.
  • Develop a Genomic Surveillance Strategy: To guide the public health response, maximize resources, and ensure an equitable distribution of benefits, the US Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) should develop a national strategy for genomic surveillance to implement and direct a robust SARS-CoV-2 genomic surveillance program, drawing on resources and expertise from across the US government.
  • Improve Coordination for Genomic Surveillance and Characterization: There are several factors in creating a successful genomic surveillance and characterization network. Clear leadership and coordination will be necessary.”

Practical Application of Genomic Sequencing

Genomic epidemiology uses the genetic sequence of a virus to better understand how and where a given virus is spreading, as well as how it may be mutating. Pathologists understand that this information can be used at multiple levels.

Locally, as was the case in Carver County, Minn., it helps school officials decide whether to halt sports for a time. Nationally, it helps scientists identify “hot spots” and locate mutations of the coronavirus. Using this data, vaccine manufacturers can adjust their vaccines or create boosters as needed.

“This is some of the most amazing epidemiology I’ve ever seen,” epidemiologist Michael Osterholm, PhD, Regents Professor, and Director of the Center for Infectious Disease Research and Policy (CIDRAP) at the University of Minnesota, told the Star Tribune, which reported that “A public health investigation linked 140 COVID-19 cases among more than 50 locations and groups, mostly schools and sports teams in Carver County. (Photo copyright: University of Minnesota.)

Will Cost Decreases Provide Opportunities for Clinical Laboratories?

Every year since genomic sequencing became available the cost has decreased. Experts expect that trend to continue. However, as of now, the cost may still be a barrier to clinical laboratories that lack financial resources.

“Up-front costs are among the challenges that limit the use of genomic sequencing technologies,” wrote the federal Government Accountability Office (GAO) in “Gene Sequencing Can Track COVID Variants, But High Costs and Security and Privacy Concerns Present Challenges.”

“Purchasing laboratory equipment, computer resources, and staff training requires significant up-front investments. However, the cost per sequence is far less today than it was under earlier methods,” the GAO noted. This is good news for public and independent clinical laboratories. Like Carver County, a significant SARS-CoV-2 outbreak in the future may be averted thanks to genetic sequencing.

“The first piece of the cluster was spotted in a private K-8 school, which served as an incubator of sorts because its students live in different towns and play on different club teams,” the Star Tribune reported.

Finding such clusters may provide opportunities to halt the outbreak. “We can try to cut it off at the knees or maybe get ahead of it,” epidemiologist Susan Klammer with Minnesota Public Health and for childcare and schools, told the Star Tribune.

This story is a good example of how genomic sequencing and surveillance tracking—along with cooperation between public health agencies and clinical laboratories—are critical elements in slowing and eventually halting the spread of COVID-19.

Dava Stewart

Related Information:

Mapping of Carver County Outbreak Unmasks How COVID Spreads

COVID Variants Are Like “a Thief Changing Clothes” and Our Camera System Barely Exists

U.S. Ranks 43rd Worldwide in Sequencing to Check for Coronavirus Variants Like the One Found in the U.K.

Biden Administration Announces Actions to Expand COVID-19 Testing

Staying Ahead of the Variants: Policy Recommendations to Identify and Manage Current and Future Variants of Concern

Gene Sequencing Can Track COVID Variants, But High Costs and Security and Privacy Concerns Present Challenges

GAO Report Predicts 40% Growth in Home Care over Next 10 Years in a Trend That Has Ramifications for the Nation’s Clinical Laboratories

Healthcare policymakers continue to support the move from expensive hospitals to outpatient, ambulatory, and home health settings in ways that will change where and how medical laboratories collect lab specimens

Clinical laboratories have adapted to many changes in the past decade and the increased demand for home healthcare is one of them. Thus, predictions from the US federal Government Accountability Office (GAO) that the number of home care jobs in the US will grow by 40% in the next 10 years will be of interest to medical laboratory managers.

Though “home care” and “home healthcare” differ in their cost and coverages, the GAO clearly expects the trend for treating people outside of expensive hospitals to continue and likely accelerate, requiring the nation’s medical laboratories to find new ways to provide services to the physicians they support, while also creating new systems for collecting laboratory specimens from patients being treated in their homes.

The federal agency attributes the growth in home care to demand from older adults and people with disabilities, the GAO said in its recently released report, titled, “Fair Labor Standards Act Observations on the Effects of the Home Care Rule.” Other experts concur. This is also significant for clinical laboratories because Medicare patients typically use more clinical lab testing services than younger people enrolled in commercial health plans.

“We believe [the GAO’s report] serves as a positive for home health and a negative for hospitals and other brick-and mortar care,” Laffer Healthcare Intelligence (Laffer) wrote in an e-mail to Dark Daily. “While COVID-19 has disrupted demand in some ways, growth in this industry (home care) is expected to grow substantially over time.”

How Home Care Differs from Home Healthcare

Home care differs from home healthcare in significant ways. In its report, the GAO defined home care as “non-medical” help by personal care and home health aides with “activities of daily living such as dressing, grooming, eating, or bathing.”

By contrast, according to Medicare, “In general, the goal of home healthcare is to provide treatment for an illness or injury … Home health care may also help you maintain your current condition or level of function, or to slow decline.”

While Medicare covers much of home healthcare, consumers usually pay out-of-pocket for home care, although some Medicaid programs may cover home care services for those eligible to receive them “as an alternative to institutional care,” the GAO report noted.  

The annual median cost of home care is $53,000, while the average cost of a semi-private room in a nursing home facility is $90,000/year, according to a Genworth cost-of-care study on long-term care the GAO-cited in its report.

More than three million people work in home care, “one of the nation’s fastest growing industries,” the GAO report noted, citing 2018 data.

Karen Abrashkin, MD Medical Director of Northwell Health House Calls examines a patient
Karen Abrashkin, MD (above), Medical Director of Northwell Health House Calls, examines a patient during a home visit checkup. In a news release, she said, “We know our older, chronically ill patients want to receive medical care at home as long as possible. We are dedicated to providing high-quality care and giving patients access to the appropriate healthcare provided at the right time.” (Photo copyright: Northwell Health.)

Growth in Home Care Mirrors Growth in Home Healthcare

“If home care is booming, so, too, will home healthcare—a setting that has much lower costs for services than acute care hospitals,” said Robert Michel, Editor-in-Chief of Dark Daily and its sister publication The Dark Report. “And one issue for clinical labs is that they will need a way to cost effectively collect specimens from patients who are being provided healthcare and personal care services in their homes.”

Dark Daily covered this growing trend in home healthcare and its effect on clinical laboratories several times this year. In “In-Home Healthcare Companies Bring High-Acuity Care, Including Clinical Laboratory Testing, to Patients at their Homes and Workplaces,” we reported on DispatchHealth of Denver, Colo., which recently brought its “ER-at-Home” in-home healthcare model to cities in Texas, Massachusetts, and Washington State.

In “Medicare Proposes Payment Changes to Increase At-Home Dialysis Services for End-Stage Renal Disease Patients in a Trend That Shifts Where These Patients Access Clinical Laboratory Tests,” we reported on how a new CMS proposed rule (CMS-1732-P) would accelerate CMS’ effort to direct patient care to lower-cost settings while improving access to care. And how the rule is further evidence that the shift from “volume to value” in healthcare may impact clinical laboratories and pathology groups in unexpected ways.

And in “Amazon Care Pilot Program Offers Virtual Primary Care to Seattle Employees; Features Both Telehealth and In-home Care Services That Include Clinical Laboratory Testing,” we covered how Amazon (NASDAQ:AMZN) was piloting Amazon Care—a virtual medical clinic and home care services program—as a benefit for its 53,000 Seattle-area employees and their families, and possibly planning a roll-out of healthcare services to its Prime members and other customers.

Home Care Growth Could be Positive

The GAO report predicts a huge increase in home care employment by 2030. With more patients opting to be treated at home for high-acuity and chronic healthcare conditions, such massive growth may be coming for home healthcare as well. For clinical laboratory managers, this is a call to step up outreach to the homebound by working with home care and home healthcare providers.

—Donna Marie Pocius

Related Information:

Report to Congressional Requesters: Fair Labor Standards Act Observations on the Effects of the Home Care Rule

Fast Facts Highlights: Fair Labor Standards Act Observations on the Effects of the Home Care Rule

Ask the Experts:  Summary of the GAO Report Observations on the Effects of the Home Care Rule

Earnings Lag, But GAO Predicts Home Care Job Growth of 40%

Medicare and Home Health Care

In-Home Healthcare Companies Bring High-Acuity Care, Including Clinical Laboratory Testing, to Patients at their Homes and Workplaces

Medicare Proposes Payment Changes to Increase At-Home Dialysis Services for End-Stage Renal Disease Patients in a Trend That Shifts Where These Patients Access Clinical Laboratory Tests

Amazon Care Pilot Program Offers Virtual Primary Care to Seattle Employees; Features Both Telehealth and In-home Care Services That Include Clinical Laboratory Testing

Medicare’s Independence at Home Program Saves Federal Government Millions While Paying Millions to Health Providers That Meet Quality Benchmarks

GAO Report Shows Medicare Advantage Plans Could Be a Disadvantage for Seniors with Health Issues; Narrow Networks Continue to Impact Smaller Clinical Laboratories

Tight provider networks have some seniors dropping private plans after losing access to ‘preferred doctors and hospitals’ and experiencing issues with ‘access to care’

Medicare Advantage Plans continue to rise in popularity. That trend has implications for clinical laboratories and anatomic pathology groups because private insurers running Medicare Advantage plans tend to have narrow or exclusive lab networks.

Thus, as Medicare patients shift from Medicare Part B (which pays any provider a fee-for-service reimbursement) to a Medicare Advantage plan (with a narrow network), labs in that community lose access to that patient.

Now a recent government study of the Medicare Advantage program has interesting findings. For seniors in poor health, the private healthcare plans can prove costly if they lose access to specialized healthcare and the freedom to go to any doctor or hospital.

High Turnover Could Mean Poor Quality Plans

A 2017 report by the Government Accountability Office (GAO) found that beneficiaries in poor health are more likely to disenroll from Medicare Advantage Plans—a sign that the quality of plans with higher than normal turnover may be poor. The agency reviewed 126 Medicare Advantage plans and found that 35 of them had disproportionately high numbers of sicker people dropping out. Many seniors cited problems with “coverage of preferred doctors and hospitals” and “access to care.” The GAO is urging the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) to review disenrollment data by health status and disenrollment reasons as part of the agency’s routine monitoring efforts.

“People who are sicker are much more likely to leave [Medicare Advantage plans] than people who are healthier,” James Cosgrove, Director of Healthcare at the GAO, told Kaiser Health News.

David Lipschutz, JD, Managing Attorney at the Center for Medicare Advocacy, called for tighter government oversight of Medicare Advantage plans.

“A Medicare Advantage plan sponsor does not have an evergreen right to participate in and profit from the Medicare program, particularly if it is providing poor care,” Lipschutz told Kaiser Health News.


David Lipschutz, JD (above), Managing Attorney for the Center for Medicare Advocacy, is calling for tighter oversight of Medicare Advantage Plans following a report by the Government Accountability Office (GAO) showing an exodus of sicker patients from some Medicare Advantage plans. (Photo copyright: Center for Medicare Advocacy.)

Threat to Regional Medical Laboratories by Narrow Networks

Dark Daily previously reported on how enrollment shifts from traditional Medicare to Medicare Advantage threaten the financial health of regional clinical labs, which typically lose access to Medicare Advantage beneficiaries. In 2017, one in three (33%) Medicare beneficiaries was enrolled in a private Medicare Advantage plan, reflecting 8% growth (1.4 million beneficiaries) between 2016 and 2017, according to a Kaiser Family Foundation (KFF) report.

Medicare Advantage’s private health plans are attractive to many seniors because of lower cost sharing and expanded benefits, such as hearing aid and eyeglass coverage and fitness club memberships. The tradeoff, however, requires forfeiting access to Medicare Part A (hospital insurance) and Part B (medical insurance) and accepting a narrower network of providers and hospitals.


An analysis by the Kaiser Family Foundation shows that more than three in 10 (35%) of Medicare Advantage enrollees in 2015 were in narrow-network plans. On average, Medicare Advantage networks included less than half (46%) of physicians in a county. The size and composition of Medicare Advantage Provider networks greatly impacts smaller clinical laboratories and anatomic pathology groups, which often are excluded from narrow-network plans. (Image copyright: KFF.)

Ron Brandwein, Health Insurance Information, Counseling and Assistance Program Coordinator at Lifespan of Greater Rochester, N.Y., believes consumers need to understand the limitations of Medicare Advantage plans.

“It’s very competitive, very dog eat dog,” he told the Democrat and Chronicle, adding that, once a person signs up with a Medicare Advantage plan, all their dollars for care are sent to that plan. “If they wind up going to a doctor or hospital that doesn’t accept it, they can’t fall back on Medicare because Medicare won’t pay their bills anymore because they’ve given their dollars to their chosen Advantage plan,” he said.

The 2017 KFF report “Medicare Advantage: How Robust Are Plans’ Physician Networks,” found:

  • One in three Medicare Advantage enrollees in 2015 were in a plan with a narrow physician network (less than 30% of physicians in the county);
  • 43% were in medium-sized networks (30% to 69% of physicians in the county); and,
  • Just 22% were in broad plans that included 70% or more of physicians in the county.

“Insurers may create narrow networks for a variety of reasons, such as to have greater control over the costs and quality of care provided to enrollees in the plan,” KFF reported. “The size and composition of Medicare Advantage provider networks is likely to be particularly important to enrollees when they have an unforeseen medical event or serious illness. However, accessing the information may not be easy for users, and comparing networks could be especially challenging. Beneficiaries could unwittingly face significant costs if they accidentally go out-of-network.”

But Kristine Grow, Senior Vice President, Communications, at America’s Health Insurance Plans (AHIP), contends most consumers are satisfied with their Medicare Advantage plans, as evidenced by the growth in Medicare Advantage enrollment. She told Kaiser Health News that patients in the GAO study mostly switched from one health plan to another to take advantage of a better deal or more inclusive coverage.

“We have to remember these are plans working hard to deliver the best care they can,” Grow said. Insurers compete vigorously for business and “want to keep members for the longer term,” she added.

Smaller Clinical Laboratories at Greatest Risk

The implications for anatomic pathology groups and medical laboratories is clear. As Dark Daily has reported, increasing reliance by insurers on narrow networks to stem raising costs limits the number of physicians ordering medical testing, reducing lab revenues and threatening the entire pathology industry—especially smaller clinical laboratories. And, since Medicare patients now represent more than 50% of all patients in the healthcare system, the impact of that aging population’s behavior increases each year.

—Andrea Downing Peck

Related Information:

As Seniors Get Sicker, they’re More Likely to Drop Medicare Advantage Plans

Medicare Advantage 2018 Data: First Look

Medicare Choices More Complicated for Seniors Who Use Rochester Regional Health

Medicare Advantage: How Robust Are Plans’ Physician Networks?

Medicare Advantage Plans in 2017: Short-term Outlook is Stable

Medicare Advantage: CMS should Use Data on Disenrollment and Beneficiary Health Status to Strengthen Oversight

Sustained Growth in Medicare Advantage Plans Threatens Financial Health of Smaller Pathology Groups and Local Medical Laboratories

Kaiser Family Foundation Study Predicts Big Increases in Obamacare Premiums for 2017; However, Narrow Networks Often Exclude Clinical Laboratories and Other Providers

McKinsey Study Confirms Trend Toward Narrow Healthcare Networks on Health Insurance Exchanges; Smaller Clinical Laboratories and Pathology Groups Often Excluded

Narrow Networks Mean Shrinking Opportunity for Pathology and Clinical Medical Laboratories

Study of Urologists Who Refer Patients for Imaging to Facilities They Own is Published by the New England Journal of Medicine

Radiology and pathology associations are supporting a new bill in Congress to address self-referrals made by urologists

Criticism is mounting against urologists who refer their patients to radiation providers in which they have an ownership relationship. This criticism is strikingly similar to concerns that pathologists and others have expressed about situations where urologists refer their patients to anatomic pathology laboratories in which they have an ownership relationship.

Study about Radiation Therapy Referrals Published in NEJM (more…)