Robert Michel

Until Robert L. Michel came along and founded The Dark Intelligence Group (DIG) two decades ago, the clinical laboratory industry and the anatomic pathology profession lacked a trustworthy source for information about the management and operations of medical laboratories. From its inception in 1995, The Dark Report quickly became the “go to” source of industry intelligence, innovations in lab management, and strategic market analysis.

This excellence in reporting has earned recognition from his peers. For example, twice Michel and The Dark Report have won national awards for best investigative reporting by the Specialty Information Publishers Association. In 2005, the award was for Michel’s coverage about how the anatomic pathology condominium laboratories (pod labs) operated by urologists and gastroenterologists came to be, who operated them, and how these owners marketed the AP condo labs to other physician groups. In 2009, Michel’s award for best investigative reporting resulted from his published interviews with Quest Diagnostics Incorporated when the company admitted that, for a period of 18 months, it had been reported inaccurate Vitamin 25(OH) D results because of problems with its laboratory-developed test methodology. The Dark Report’s story was picked up by The New York Times and was in the national news cycle for several days.

In his role as Editor-in-Chief, Michel brought unique capabilities to DIG and The Dark Report. His management training and diverse business experience—along with his skills as a concise writer and analyst—proved to be a winning combination for readers of The Dark Report. For that reason, Michel’s story has many intriguing elements.

Immediately prior to founding DIG, he had served in several executive positions for Nichols Institute based in Portland, Oregon, and San Juan Capistrano, California. This was during the time that Nichols Institute was an independent public lab company with annual revenues of about $280 million (prior to its acquisition by MetPath, Inc., now Quest Diagnostics Incorporated). He traveled extensively to many of the clinical lab business units owned by Nichols Institute in different regions of the United States and played a role in formulating effective market strategies in response to the emergence of closed-panel HMOs, capitated pricing, and full-risk managed care contracts, among other successful management initiatives.

Prior to his service at Nichols Institute, Michel served at three different Fortune 100 companies. These were Procter & Gamble, Centex Corporation, and Financial Corp. of America. Each was an opportunity to master new management techniques and apply them in different industries. Between these positions, he gained experience as an entrepreneur, having founded a real estate development firm and a general contracting company in the Southeastern United States.

Robert Michel earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in Economics at the University of California, Los Angeles, where he played rugby, a sport he participated in for another 22 years. He is a native of California and grew up in Santa Ana.

Articles by Robert Michel

May 20, 2019 Intelligence: Late Breaking Lab News

Intelligence Late & Latent News

Canada faces a similar shortage of medical technologists (MTs) as exists in the United States. “We have reached the point now where some laboratories have been closed for weeks due to insufficient staffing, which is a cascading problem for patients and the healthcare system,” stated Maria Klement, President of the Canadian Society for Medical Laboratory

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Dr. Papanicolaou Honored by Google Doodle on May 13

Pathologists and medical laboratory professionals the world over had a surprise on May 13 if they used Google for an Internet search. The doodle on the Google search home page honored pathologist Dr. Georgios Papanicolaou, who developed the Pap smear test used to screen for cervical cancer.

Papanicolaou was born in 1883 in Greece. He studied medicine in Greece and

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April 8, 2019 Intelligence: Late Breaking Lab News

Intelligence Late & Latent News

BeaconLBS announced a collaboration with MagnaCare of Garden City, N.Y., last month. The press release issued by the two companies stated that MagnaCare would use the “BeaconLBS Physician Decision Support (PDS) solution with its network of physician and laboratory providers.” MagnaCare describes itself as a company serving “Taft-Hartley funds, TPAs, carriers, and worker’s compensation and no-fault

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March 18, 2019 Intelligence: Late Breaking Lab News

Intelligence Late & Latent News

Because of a $25 million grant from philanthropist Denny Sanford, the Veterans Administration and Sanford Health will provide free genetic testing to 250,000 veterans by 2022. These will be pharmacogenomic (PGx) tests designed to help VA physicians prescribe medication and dosages customized to the unique characteristics of individual patients. This innovative program was announced on Mar.

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February 4, 2019 Intelligence: Late Breaking Lab News

Intelligence Late & Latent News

More than 63 healthcare and medical service organizations signed a letter asking officials at the federal Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) to reconsider their latest interpretation of a National Coverage Determination (NCD) on the subject of next-generation sequencing (NGS). Clinicalomics wrote that “the final NCD also included repeat testing when a new primary cancer

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