Underfunding Affects the Public Face of Clinical Laboratories

Noted Humorist Garrison Keillor Encounters the Truth of Inadequate Funding for Clinical Laboratory Testing Services

It is widely recognized by pathologists and clinical laboratory managers in the United States and abroad that medical laboratory testing is a “high touch” clinical service. Each day, lots of patients interact with laboratory professionals to provide specimens. Physicians know that their own successful medical practice is dependent on a smooth-functioning and high-quality pathology testing service that delivers accurate, reliable lab test results.

Another truth in today’s healthcare system is selective underfunding of certain clinical laboratory testing services in the United States. In this country, pathologists and clinical lab managers are all too familiar with this situation. What might be at the top of the list of inadequately-reimbursed laboratory procedures is venipuncture. It has been years since Medicare, Medicaid, and private payers have reimbursed the venipuncture procedure at a level that is close to the cost of providing that service to patients.