WHAT’S IN THE FUTURE FOR PHYSICIANS, PATHOLOGISTS, AND CLINICAL LABORATORIES if Laboratory Corporation of America’s strategy for managing lab test utilization is deployed across the country per the company’s plan?
For the nation’s physicians, LabCorp’s BeaconLBS system will be required when they order lab tests, such as is happening in Florida with the UnitedHealthcare laboratory benefit management program.
For pathologists and clinical laboratories, they will need to meet the standards, requirements, and payment amounts that LabCorp mandates in order to participate as providers in the BeaconLBS laboratory network. The UHC program in Florida is the first public look at how LabCorp wants to implement its BeaconLBS strategy.
LabCorp CEO David King described this strategy during the firm’s first quarter earnings conference call with financial analysts and investors. He stated that:
“…I’m pleased to update you on our progress in expanding our capabilities to change the way care is delivered. [Italics by THE DARK REPORT.] We are doing this through the development and commercialization of technology-enabled solutions and we now have two services in play… BeaconLBS’ technology-enabled solutions are modernizing healthcare by conveniently incorporating laboratory decision support into provider workflow and we will continue to enhance LBS over time to provide broader physician decision support, as well as timely feedback to physicians about their test ordering patterns and patient compliance with the tests they have ordered. This innovation promotes the use of the appropriate test for the appropriate patient at the appropriate time to enhance care and improve outcomes. I want to commend the entire BeaconLBS team on their unstinting efforts to introduce this innovation into clinical practice… It’s our goal to expand BeaconLBS both to additional markets and to additional payers.”
Contrast those ambitions to “change the way care is delivered” with the reaction of the physicians, pathology groups, and clinical labs in Florida to the BeaconLBS system and the UHC laboratory benefit management program. A significant number of physicians and their medical societies have voiced concerns about how the program could have serious negative consequences on patient care and disrupt office work flow. Meanwhile, of the hundreds of clinical labs and pathology groups in the state, only eight non-LabCorp lab organizations proved willing to sign agreements to be network labs under the terms BeaconLBS offered.