April 23, 2007 “Intelligence: Late Breaking Lab News”

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Last week, Quest Diagnostics Incorporated released its first quarter earnings, providing a first look at how the battle for UnitedHealth patients is unfolding. Revenue of $1.53 billion was down by 1.7%, compared to first quarter 2006 revenue of $1.56 billion. Quest notes that the number of clinical testing requisitions declined by 7.3% during this same period. Of this number, 6% was due to loss of UnitedHealth business and about 1% was due to severe weather.

Bidding War For Biosite

On April 3, Beckman Coulter, Inc. (BEC), offered to acquire Biosite, Inc., a biomedical and proteomics company in San Diego, California, for $85 a share. However, just days later, on April 5, Inverness Medical Innovations, Inc., (IMA) of Waltham, Massachusetts, topped the Beckman Coulter bid, offering $90 a share for Biosite. At press time, Biosite was evaluating the offers.

PATHOLOGIST SUES, CLAIMS THREAT FOR WHISTLEBLOWING

Last week, a former pathologist at Magee-Womens Hospital in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, sued her former supervisor, claiming the supervisor threatened her and retaliated against her for whistleblowing about quality control. According to a story in the Pittsburgh Tribune Review, the pathologist, Susan Silver, M.D., filed the lawsuit in Allegheny County Common Pleas Court against Trevor MacPherson, M.D., for one count each of assault and infliction of emotional distress. The former Chief of Pathology at Magee until 2001, MacPherson is the Medical Director of Perinatal Pathology for Magee. He also directs the pathology residency and fellowship program.

ADD TO: Lawsuit

While working at Magee as a staff pathologist, Silver said she observed substandard medical and administrative practices, including inadequate employee supervision and training, frequent patient misidentification and specimen reporting. The Pittsburgh Tribune Review reported that, in 2003, Silver sued the hospital, saying thousands of Pap smear results had been falsified, the paper reported. That case is pending. MacPherson declined to comment for the newspaper and William Pietragallo, an attorney who spoke on behalf of the hospital and MacPherson, said MacPherson would be vindicated. He also said the allegations are unfounded.

Dark Daily Update

dark_daily_logoHave you caught the latest e-briefings from DARK Daily? If so, then you’d know about…

…how U.S. Rep. Pete Stark (D-Calif.) recently told a lab audience that it’s “bad news” that UnitedHealth (UHC) intended to fine physicians who referred tests to labs not holding contracts with UHC.

You can get the free DARK Daily e-briefings by signing up at www.darkdaily.com.

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