“December 4, 2000 Intelligence:  Late Breaking Lab News”

Evidence continues to grow that consumers are using the Internet to actively intervene in their health care. The Pew Foundation released a report last week that says 52 million Americans are using the Internet “to gain knowledge about disease, investigate how to participate in clinical trials, and find low-fat recipes”. “Moreover, 55% of all Internet users claimed to have sought health information, outranking the next highest category” online shopping at 47%. But of the people using the Internet for health information, only 9% said they had exchanged e-mails with their doctors.

ADD TO: INTERNET

These findings should be a wake-up call to both independent labs and hospital labs. It’s time for every lab to establish a relevant Web presence. Consumers and patients are already on the Internet looking for information about their particular health needs, including clinical laboratory tests and anatomic pathology procedures.

PROPOSAL TO EXPAND MEDICAID ELIGIBILITY FOR 23 MILLION PEOPLE

Here’s something that shouldn’t escape the notice of the lab industry. Two longstanding enemies in the battle for national health insurance have joined forces with the American Hospital Association (AHA) to call for a $26 billion increase in yearly spending to fund Medicare eligibility for an additional 23 million people. Families USA (a liberal advocacy group that supported Hillarycare in 1993-94) and the Health Insurance Association of America (HIAA) (source of the “Harry and Louise” ads in 1993-94) joined together with the AHA and put forward a plan to expand Medicaid to provide healthcare to uninsured individuals making as much as 200% of the federal poverty level.

MORE ON: MEDICAID

The American Hospital Association should be careful. It might get what it wishes for. Hospitals are already struggling to cope with the bureaucratic nightmare of Medicare. Imagine the chaos if bureaucrats added 23 million people to the Medicaid program.

EXECUTIVE CHANGE AT QUEST DIAGNOSTICS

In recent weeks there was a quiet change in the executive ranks at Quest Diagnostics Incorporated. Vijay Aggarwal, President of Quest Diagnostics Ventures, has left the company. Aggarwal was also a key executive at SmithKline Beecham Clinical Laboratories (SBCL). Aggarwal’s lab roots extend back 23 years. He was part of the former Bio-Science Laboratories, located in Van Nuys, California and purchased by SBCL in the 1980s.

PAGE HIRED BY LUMINEX

Luminex Corporation hired Gail S. Page as Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer. Plans are for her to contribute to developing Luminex’s proteomic bioinformatics business unit. To join Luminex, Page left a position at Laboratory Corporation of America, where she was Senior Vice President of Automation, Diagnostics, and Quality.

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