Issue: Volume VI No. 6 - April 26, 1999

Preparing for the Unexpected and Unimagined

WHO WOULD HAVE EVER PREDICTED THAT A PHLEBOTOMIST would reuse needles? Just as surprising, who would have ever predicted that the phlebotomist would be working at a respected clinical laboratory like SmithKline Beecham Clinical Laboratories (SBCL)? This shocking story is a reminder that laboratory executives should never forget to anticipate every potential problem, no matter how …

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Labs Entering New Cycle Of Evolution and Change

CEO SUMMARY: As some of the nation’s most astute and forward-looking lab executives prepare to gather in New Orleans for the fourth annual EXECUTIVE WAR COLLEGE, it is time to share our assessment of the laboratory and pathology industry. Recent events presage another profound shift in trends driving the evolution of laboratory services. This shift …

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SBCL Phlebotomist Found Reusing Needles in Calif.

CEO SUMMARY: News that a phlebotomist employed by SmithKline Beecham Clinical Laboratories (SBCL) was discovered to be washing and reusing needles got national media attention last week. During her 22-month employment at SBCL, this phlebotomist apparently reused butterfly needles on “difficult to draw” patients. Ramifications of this discovery will affect not only SBCL, but the …

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Crises Management Plan Essential for Every Lab

CEO SUMMARY: “It can’t happen here” is not good management. All clinical laboratories and pathology practices should anticipate the worst and develop their own internal controls to prevent the unthinkable and prepare for the unexpected. Rogue phlebotomists like the one at SmithKline Beecham Clinical Laboratories can appear anywhere, with similar destructive consequences. WHAT’S HAPPENING TO …

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Legislators May Repeal NY Lab Surcharge Tax

CEO SUMMARY: After two years of concerted effort, laboratories in New York are optimistic that state legislators will finally repeal an 8.18% surcharge tax on clinical laboratory tests. The significant insight behind this story is how laboratories educated patients about the surcharge. The response was a public deluge of phone calls and letters to elected …

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Lab Contracts Priced Below Cost May be Defined as Inducement

PROBABLY THE MOST SERIOUS problem in the lab industry is one of its own making. “Below cost” contracting is a practice where clinical laboratories offer the managed care company a price which is less than its cost to provide the testing. With laboratory overcapacity still abundant in many cities, “below cost” contract pricing remains common. …

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Unilab Signs Agreement To Buy Bio-Cypher Labs

CEO SUMMARY: Unilab’s desire to purchase $60 million Bio-Cypher must be viewed against the impending acquisition by Quest Diagnostics of SmithKline Beecham Clinical Laboratories (SBCL). Whenever Quest takes control of SBCL’s lab operations, it automatically becomes a significant competitor to Unilab in the Golden State. For Unilab, acquiring Bio-Cypher represents both an offensive and defensive …

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“April 26, 1999 Intelligence: Late Breaking Lab News”

Think turnover among laboratory executives and administrators is high? Get a load of this! Among CEOs at the nation’s 4,838 general, non-federal acute-care hospitals, the turnover rate was 16.9% during 1998. This was up from 12.1% in 1997. It means that one of every six hospitals got a new CEO last year, and three of …

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