Second War College Set For New Orleans In May

Eight case studies of laboratory consolidation, regional lab networks reveal successes, setbacks

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CEO SUMMARY: Laboratory consolidation and networking activity continues to intensify. This year’s War College faculty features exceptional stories about what works and what doesn’t. New Orleans is the place to be on May 20-21 for proactive laboratory administrators and pathologists seeking to give their organization a competitive advantage.

WHEN THE SECOND EXECUTIVE WAR COLLEGE convenes at the Royal Sonesta Hotel in New Orleans on May 20, it promises to be the laboratory management event of 1997.

“These are exciting case studies,” stated Robert Michel, Editor In Chief of THE DARK REPORT. “The laboratory group for Kaiser-Northern California is a consolidated lab with regionalized services. It serves an HMO which is consistently ranked as one of the best in the country for quality and patient satisfaction. Expect to hear about innovative initiatives and learn what the consolidated lab of the future looks like today.

“Contrasting Kaiser is Calgary Laboratory Services (CLS),” Michel continued. “I predicted in earlier issues of THE DARK REPORT that the future of laboratory services will be a hybrid regional lab system, joining consolidated lab clusters into a regional provider network. (See TDR, June 10, 1996.) If that is the future, then CLS is already there. CLS represents five commercial labs and eight hospital labs which were forced to consolidate into one service company when the province of Alberta slashed global laboratory budgets by 40% in only two years!

“But innovation doesn’t end there,” he added. “Joint Venture Hospital Laboratories (JVHL) of Detroit is probably the oldest operating regional laboratory network. Founded in 1992, it is owned by seven hospital systems, representing more than 23 individual hospital laboratories. JVHL’s managed care contracts serve more than 400,000 lives, which may be the largest number served by any lab network in the United States today.

“For those who want to learn how brutal managed care and marketplace trends can be, Lou Durigon of the now-defunct Pittsburgh Reference Laboratory Alliance (RLA) will be on hand to present a post-mortem on what happened to RLA. From the West Coast, Nate Headley, former CEO of Physicians Clinical Laboratories (PCL) in Sacramento will share details about what California’s managed care marketplace is doing to clinical laboratories. Most people are unaware that PCL developed a core laboratory in Sacramento that consolidates testing from eight hospitals in the city.

“Pathologists will find the story of South Carolina’s Pathology Services Associates to be fascinating,” explained Michel. “This is the first statewide pathology network actually servicing managed care contracts. Kansas City’s Regional Laboratory Alliance is a network of five hospitals and one commercial laboratory that has quietly implemented one service enhancement after another for its physician clients.

“We are very pleased that Columbia/HCA-Laboratory Corporation of America’s Louisville joint venture will present its story,” noted Michel. “This laboratory consolidation involved three Columbia hospital laboratories which were integrated with LabCorps’s Louisville facility. As national commercial laboratories press hospital laboratories for joint ventures and outsourcing arrangements, this is a unique opportunity to learn how successful, both operationally and functionally, such arrangements can be.”

A few of the supporting presentations include Paul Liebenluft of the Federal Trade Commission on anti-trust issues of laboratory networks, Bob Hamon of Presbyterian Laboratory Services on the issues of building and operating offsite core laboratories, Cheryl Kutchinsky of Anthem-Blue Cross/Blue Shield on managed care contracting for lab services and Phil Wisler of Coopers & Lybrand on creating asset value and profits from lab networks and consolidations.

“Last year’s Executive War College attracted 250 proactive and innovative laboratory executives who turned it into a high-energy summit meeting,” concluded Michel. “Early interest tells us that this year’s program will probably exceed that in both the number of attendees and the quality of information that is exchanged.”

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