Month: May 2003

“May 27, 2003 Intelligence: Late Breaking Lab News”

Here’s an early sign that health-insurance premiums will rise by significant amounts for 2004. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics’ Producer Price Index for general acute care hospitals posted its highest-ever one-month increase, jumping 1.4% in April. For the 12 months ending in April, the general acute care hospital price index was up 6.2%. By …

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Conventional Needle Sales To End at Becton Dickinson

IN RESPONSE TO DECLINING SALES of many types of conventional needles and other “sharps” devices, Becton, Dickinson and Company (BD) announced plans to discontinue offering these products in the United States. “The market in the U.S. is converting to safety-engineered sharps devices,” stated Ed Thompson, Senior Director of Worldwide Health Worker Safety at BD. “We …

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HealthcheckUSA Makes Progress With Consumers

CEO SUMMARY: There’s a story behind the story at HealthcheckUSA, one of the nation’s best-known sources offering consumers direct access to laboratory testing. Its primary business is holding community screens and grocery store lab testing programs throughout the United States. Because it is a middleman, HealthcheckUSA farms out the actual testing to contract laboratories. WHEN …

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Threat of Medicare 20% Co-pay for Lab Looms Again

BY NOW MOST OF YOU KNOW THAT THE LATEST ATTEMPT TO REINSTITUTE the 20% patient co-payment for Medicare Part B laboratory testing services was waved off in the Senate last week. But don’t relax, because similar proposals are expected to be put forward in Congress in coming months. It was a close call for the laboratory …

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New Lab Management Directions Now Visible

CEO SUMMARY: Seat-of-the-pants laboratory management is on its way out, replaced by numbers-driven methods. Judging by the presentations given at this year’s Executive War College on Lab and Pathology Management, a growing number of laboratory administrators and pathologists are actively introducing quality management methods into their laboratory operations and generating remarkable results. IF THERE WAS …

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‘Health Lawyers News’ Attacks Pathology Part A

CEO SUMMARY: Pathologists should take time to read the cover story in the May 2003 issue of Health Lawyers News. Although the story nominally addresses questions involving how hospitals should reimburse physicians for administrative duties, it deals mostly with clinical pathology services and makes representations about the work pathologists do which some legal experts call …

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Focus Technologies Offers SARS Test to Clinicians

EARLIER THIS MONTH, Focus Technologies reference laboratories of Cypress, California announced the development of a “first-generation, real-time PCR test” designed to detect the presence of the coronavirus associated with severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS). “Focus developed this test based on the methodology developed by the Bernhard-Nocht Institute of Hamburg, Germany,” stated Mary Kay Mosch, Vice President …

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Eritrea Uses St. Louis For Reference Testing

CEO SUMMARY: On one level, it’s the classic story of volunteerism and help for a developing nation. But on another level, it’s a dramatic demonstration of how new technologies allow two hospital laboratories in St. Louis, Missouri to effectively provide reference laboratory tests and related services to Eritrea, a small country located 12,000 miles from …

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SARS Contained in Toronto, Labs Still in Caution Mode

IN RECENT DAYS, public health officials in the Canadian province of Ontario have declared the SARS outbreak to be contained. As described in the last issue of THE DARK REPORT, the outbreak of SARS in Ontario had a significant operational impact on clinical laboratories in the province. (See TDR, April 14, 2003.) Both hospital labs …

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