TODAY I WOULD LIKE TO SHARE A QUOTE WITH YOU and offer some thoughts about how it relates to the profession of laboratory medicine that you practice
News is what someone wants suppressed. Everything else is advertising. The power is to set the agenda. What we print and what we don’t print matter a lot.
—Katharine Graham (1917-2001), Publisher of the Washington Post
Our editorial team was discussing this quote as we assembled this issue of THE DARK REPORT. It features two primary stories. First is the effort by UnitedHealthcare, BeaconLBS (and its owner, Laboratory Corporation of America), to require all physicians and all laboratories serving UHC patients in Florida to comply with a specific system of lab test pre-notification and pre- authorization. We report on more dissatisfaction by physicians about the intent and function of UHC’s laboratory benefits management program.
Second is a series of stories about the lab industry’s bad players and how they manage not only to survive, but to profit handsomely. This is due to lax enforcement of anti-kickback and medical necessity laws by federal and state prosecutors. As you read through this issue, ask yourself the question, “Is this news that someone would prefer to be suppressed?” If so, why would they want it suppressed?
More importantly, does the insider’s perspective we provide you on these major lab industry stories help you understand why today’s events in the lab marketplace are what cause tomorrow’s developments? For example, what will clinical practice look like if UnitedHealthcare were to implement the BeaconLBS program with doctors in your community—and your lab had to decide whether it wanted to sign a contract to be in the UHC lab network managed by one of your lab’s biggest competitors in order to retain access to those of UHC’s 34 million beneficiaries who live in your city?
As Graham stated, “What we print and what we don’t print matter a lot.” Our responsibility is to provide you with the essential business intelligence you need to understand unfolding events in healthcare and the lab testing marketplace. On this point, we invite your comments.