Making a Difference in Tangible Ways

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HOW OFTEN DOES SOMETHING you learn from THE DARK REPORT make a positive difference in your laboratory? We hear lots of examples from our clients and regular readers and I’d like to share two of them with you today.

The first example comes from our special, exclusive, and expanded coverage about anatomic pathology (AP) condominium laboratory complexes. This exploding trend involves specialist-physicians taking active steps to bring AP revenues into their medical practice. (See TDRs, July 19 and August 9, 2004.) Among the topics covered by THE DARK REPORT were potential legal and compliance concerns triggered by an AP condo lab operation, the nation’s first look at widespread utilization rates for a 12-core prostate biopsy procedure, and public concerns already expressed by a Senator and the Office of the Investigator General (OIG) about the legitimacy of the AP lab condo business scheme.

The message seems to have gotten out. Pathologists in recent weeks tell THE DARK REPORT that many urology and gastroenterology groups in Florida have suddenly lost interest in acquiring their own AP laboratory condominium. From another reliable source comes word that an original investor in one of the companies that operates and promotes AP laboratory condos asked the company to go to outside to a first-rank law firm for an objective legal opinion on this business scheme.

My second example is equally fascinating. Remember the Maryland General Hospital (MGH) laboratory case last spring? That is the hospital lab which, for 18 months, released unreliable HIV and HVC test results, and then, only after whistleblowers finally caught the attention of Maryland laboratory regulators, was determined to be operationally deficient in a variety of ways. (See TDRs April 5, April 26, and May 17, 2004.) The laboratory director during this time, James Stewart left MGH under a cloud. However, he then found employment with one of the two blood brothers in New Hampshire, apparently working in a hospital lab. Pathologists involved with that hospital recognized his name from reading THE DARK REPORT. They contacted his employer and expressed concerns about his competency for that position. To its credit, that lab company swiftly terminated Stewart.

Both examples show how THE DARK REPORT makes an important difference in tangible ways. I’d love to hear such stories from all of you.

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