SPECTRUM-CARILION NOW WILL BE CALLED SOLSTAS LAB PARTNERS
IT IS THE NEXT STEP IN THE INTEGRATION of Spectrum Laboratory Network and Carilion Laboratories. Effective February 1, 2011, their combined businesses will use the name Solstas Lab Partners.
Both Spectrum Lab Network, located in Greensboro, North Carolina, and Carilion, based in Roanoke, Virginia, were acquired by Welsh, Carson, Anderson, & Stowe in early 2010. The operations of the two laboratory companies were merged in March, 2010.
DNA DIRECT GAINS MORE CLIENTS FOR PAYER PRE-AUTHORIZATION OF MOLECULAR TESTS
FOUR MORE HEALTH INSURANCE PLANS recently signed contracts with DNA Direct, Inc., to use its Policy & Benefits Support Program for molecular and genetic tests. Payer pre-authorization for these tests is an important lab industry trend.
On January 31, 2011, DNA Direct announced that two regional health plans would use its pre-authorization service. The plans are Qualchoice of Arkansas, Inc., and New York-based Capital District Physicians Health Plan.
Two other health insurers, AultCare (Ohio) and Bluegrass Family Health (Kentucky), will use a more limited form of DNA Direct’s Policy & Benefits Support Program. DNA Direct will provide case review services and use its genetic experts “to provide health plans with on demand coverage guidance.”
“Due to the increasing number of genetic tests coming on the market, there is confusion among physicians, patients, and payers about which tests are clinically appropriate,” stated Ryan Phelan, Founder and President of DNA Direct. “We are working with innovative health plans that want to get ahead of the curve and implement an effective strategy to provide the necessary clinical guidance and support for providers and patients.”
The company says that molecular and genetic tests are available for more than 2,000 diseases. It anticipates that about 300 new genetic tests will arrive in the clinical marketplace each year.
DNA Direct is regularly adding new genetic tests to its online portal that includes both clinical information about specific molecular test and coverage decision support tools. The online resouce is intended to educate payers about individual tests and support coverage decisions by the payers.
Currently, DNA Direct says that its program “enables payers to determine coverage for more than 800 molecular diagnostic and genetic tests and provides real time access to the DNA Direct team of clinical experts for clinical guidance on more than 2,000 tests available today.”
PATHOLOGY, INC. ANNOUNCES ITS FIRST CLINICAL LAB ACQUISITION
ON JANUARY 24, 2011, Pathology Inc., of Torrance, California, announced its acquisition of Central Coast Clinical Laboratories (CCCL), which is located in Templeton, California, near San Luis Obispo.
CCCL was founded in 2003. It provides clinical laboratory testing services to office-based physicians around San Luis Obispo and other communities along California’s central coast.
This is the first laboratory acquisition for Pathology, Inc., which now describes itself as “the West’s premier woman’s health laboratory.” Pathology, Inc., is an anatomic pathology laboratory. Thus, its purchase of CCCL gives it access to a broad menu of clinical laboratory tests.
CCCL is the second independent clinical laboratory company in California to decide to sell itself in recent weeks. It was December 31, 2010, when Physicians Automated Laboratory, Inc., (PAL) of Bakersfield, California, sold itself to Sonic Healthcare, Ltd. That acquisition was Sonic’s first purchase of a laboratory company in California.
SLONE PARTNERS SELECTED TO RECRUIT NEW CEO FOR PAML
ONE OF THE NATION’S PREMIER CLINICAL LABORATORY CEO POSITIONS becomes available at the end of 2011. That’s when Thomas O. Tiffany, Ph.D., DABCC, FACB, retires after 24 years at the helm of Pathology Associates Medical Laboratories (PAML), in Spokane, Washington.
Handling the executive search is Slone Partners, based in Miami Beach, Florida. Slone Partners is performing the search on behalf of PAML’s owners, Providence Health & Services (PHS) and Catholic Health Initiatives (CHI).
“LAB” CAN SNIFF OUT COLON CANCER AT AN EARLY STAGE
IMAGINE A DOG THAT CAN IDENTIFY EARLY STAGE COLON CANCER approaching the sensitivity of a colonoscopy. Yes, the lab in question is a Labrador retriever!
Bloomberg reported that a research team in Japan trained the Labrador retriever to sniff out colon cancer. Next, the dog was presented with breath and stool samples of 300 patients before they received colonoscopies.
Of this number, 48 individuals had been recently diagnosed with colon cancer. The remainder of the patients representing individuals who were healthy, who were cancer survivors, or who were diagnosed with another colorectal illness.
With his associates, Dr. Hideto Sonoda of the Department of Surgery and Science Graduate School of Medicine at Kyushu University, Japan, determined that the Labrador could detect colon cancer with 95% accuracy when compared against a colonoscopy. The dog’s accuracy increased to 98% when smelling the stool samples.
Another finding was that the Laborador could differentiate between polyps and malignancies, as well as detecting early stage cancer. Colonoscopies have limited effectiveness in these areas.
“This study shows that a specific cancer smell does indeed exist,” wrote the researchers in Gut, a medical journal. “These odor materials may become effective tools in screening.”
FIRST BABY BOOMERS TURN 65 YEARS OLD IN 2011
BACK IN 1946, MILLIONS OF BABY BOOMER BABIES ARRIVED and immediately began to change American society. Now, in 2011, those same baby boomers are becoming senior citizens and will launch a new cycle of change in the United States.
This is all happening because, as of January 1, 2011, the oldest baby boomers celebrated their 65th birthdays and became eligible for Social Security and Medicare. Enrollment in both programs will zoom upward this year.
Lab administrators and pathologists would do well to take note of the statistics. According the American Association of Retired Persons (AARP), every eight seconds, another 65 people will become eligible for Medicare. That’s a total of 7,000 new enrollees every day.
What makes 2011 and later years different from 2010 and the past decade is that the number of new Social Security and Medicare beneficiaries will increase annually by a factor of 50%. When that larger number compounds over multiple years, it projects that the spending on Medicare, as a percentage of GDP, will jump from its current 3.4% to 6.4% in 20 years.