Issue: Volume XXVIII No. 3 - March 1, 2021

Might Politics Sway California Lab’s CLIA Compliance?

IS IT A CONFLICT FOR A STATE GOVERNMENT TO BUILD AND OPERATE A CLIA high-complexity clinical laboratory and have the same department that manages this lab facility also conduct the CLIA-mandated inspections and oversight of the lab’s compliance, as required by the federal Clinical Laboratory Improvement Amendments (CLIA)?  That is the situation in California today. …

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New Year Brings Three New Clinical Lab Trends

CEO SUMMARY: Since the year began, three trends have affected clinical laboratories and anatomic pathology groups. First is a continuing surge in COVID-19 test volume. Second is inconsistent payment from government and commercial insurers for SARS-CoV-2 test claims. Third is growing consumer acceptance of digital devices to monitor their health, a trend that leads them …

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Whistleblowers Disclose Issues in California’s COVID Lab

SUMMARY: Whistleblowers at the State of California’s brand-new COVID-19 Valencia Branch Laboratory are telling reporters about staff sleeping on the job, unlicensed staff handling specimens, and other significant issues. Given the reports of several news outlets, one relevant question for the clinical laboratory profession is whether state lab inspectors, federal CLIA officials, and the College …

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SARS-CoV-2 Variant Sequencing Offers Clinical Opportunities

CEO SUMMARY: In Wisconsin, an oncology research lab started sequencing variants of the SARS-CoV-2 virus and found multiple uses for such test results to help hospitals, health systems, schools, and municipalities identify infection sources and track the virus’ spread. In one case, the lab identified a sub-strain of the virus that appeared to be linked …

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Hospitals Say New UHC Policy on Lab Network Is Anticompetitive

IT’S NOT OFTEN THAT HOSPITAL ASSOCIATIONS WILL DIRECTLY OPPOSE the changes that health insurers want to make in how they pay for clinical laboratory tests. But that is now happening with UnitedHealthcare’s new lab test payment policy that directly reduces what many hospital labs are paid for outreach laboratory test claims.  In February, the American Hospital …

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March 1, 2021 Intelligence: Late-Breaking Lab News

Even as the nation’s clinical laboratories work to expand the number of molecular COVID-19 tests they can perform daily, the demand for such tests is plunging. That’s one conclusion in a news story published by the Associated Press in recent days. The AP illustrated this fact with the situation in Los Angeles County. Reporter Matthew …

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