WHAT ARE PATHOLOGISTS AND LAB EXECUTIVES TALKING ABOUT when they gather at lab industry conferences? If the hallway chats between sessions and dinner conversations that occurred last week at the 20th annual Executive War College are representative, then the clinical lab profession is closely tracking the UnitedHealthcare and BeaconLBS story on the East Coast (in Florida) and the Theranos story on the West Coast (California and Arizona).
I got plenty of feedback from folks who were in New Orleans for the conference last week and much of their commentary includes observations about the UnitedHealthcare/BeaconLBS lab test utilization program in Florida and the market expansion of Theranos in Arizona. Our editorial team was in attendance and confirms that, between formal sessions, many lab professionals were discussing these developments.
Both stories have been the subject of intelligence briefings by THE DARK REPORT over the past 24 months. Feedback from clients and regular readers has reflected their concerns that, if each of these developments gathered momentum and were deployed into more regions across the nation, each would be one more challenge to the financial sustainability of local clinical labs and anatomic pathology groups.
Recognizing the potential threats represented by each of these business initiatives, THE DARK REPORT was first to publish detailed assessments designed to help senior lab administrators and pathologists understand the respective issues involved in the UnitedHealthcare/BeaconLBS and Theranos stories. In fact, we’ve been ahead of established media on both stories.
In the case of the UnitedHealthcare and BeaconLBS lab test utilization program in Florida, only the Naples Daily News and Modern Healthcare have published stories about the unhappiness of thousands of physicians over the requirements for lab test ordering imposed by UnitedHealthcare for patients enrolled in its commercial health plan.
Similarly, I continue to be puzzled that major media news outlets have yet to conduct their own objective, detailed assessments of the lab testing services Theranos offers. On pages 16-18 in this issue, we provide information about our editor’s most recent visit to have lab tests done by Theranos. His experience is both illuminating and informative.