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

July 9, 2018 Intelligence: Late Breaking Lab News

Intelligence Late & Latent News

Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center of Wake Forest, N.C., has been notified by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS), in a letter dated June 15, that it is back in compliance with Medicare Conditions of Participation. Earlier this year, following inspection of the hospital and its anatomic pathology department, federal and state officials identified

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More Primary Care Docs Will Offer Genetic Tests

CEO SUMMARY: This summer, both Geisinger Health and Sanford Health will introduce genetic tests designed specifically for use by primary care physicians in their daily practice. This is a significant milestone on the road to wider deployment of precision medicine services. In the case of Sanford Health, it plans to offer patients a $49 genetic

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May 7, 2018 Intelligence: Late Breaking Lab News

Intelligence Late & Latent News

In Sebastopol, Calif., the financially-troubled Sonoma West Medical Center (SWMC) dropped a controversial drugs-of-abuse testing program. The following month, without the revenue from the drug testing program, 37-bed SWMC lost $1.4 million. In 2017, the hospital entered into a pass-through billing arrangement with a Florida attorney, Aaron Durall and his lab company, Reliance Laboratory Testing.

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NC Hospital Reviewing Path Lab Deficiencies

CEO SUMMARY: Discovery of multiple diagnostic errors occurring in an anatomic pathology department triggered a complaint investigation and a 54-page report from the federal Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services. The report shows that Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center is reviewing more than 9,000 pathology cases to identify incorrect cancer diagnoses. Last month, the medical

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March 26, 2018 Intelligence: Late Breaking Lab News

Intelligence Late & Latent News

On March 6, one of the lab industry’s long-serving executives and consultants, Jack Mattice, PhD, of Vancouver, Wash., died from flu complications. He was 77 years old. Mattice earned a PhD in medical microbiology from University of Oregon. Within a few years, he was handling market development for United Medical Laboratories (UML), of Portland, Ore. UML reached

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