July 26, 2021 Intelligence: Late-Breaking Lab News

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Intermountain Healthcare of Salt Lake City announced that it plans to close 25 of its 26 retail pharmacies as early as next month. It cited declining business and a new business arrangement with CVS Health, the national pharmacy chain. Daron Crowley, Intermountain’s media relations director, told the Salt Lake City Tribune that “they aren’t being used enough by the community to remain open.” If most of these pharmacies are located in medical office buildings operated by Intermountain Healthcare, then the fall-off in patients coming to see their doctors during the pandemic is probably a primary reason for the financial losses. 

MORE ON: Pharmacy Closures at Intermountain 

Crowley also stated that the retail pharmacies lost $11 million in 2020 and $6 million in the first five months of 2021. Another factor in the decision to permanently close these pharmacies—particularly if they are in medical office buildings—may also be due to more patients using telehealth and virtual primary care visits. After their telehealth session with their physician, patients likely go to the nearest retail pharmacy in their neighborhood to pick up the prescription. This development is an early warning to labs that patient service centers located in medical office buildings may see the number of daily collections decline as patients substitute a telehealth session for an in-person appointment with their physicians. 

QUEST-MERCY OUTREACH LAB DEAL CLOSES 

Last month, Quest Diagnostics announced that it had completed its purchase of the lab outreach business of Mercy Health. The deal involves outreach testing associated with 29 Mercy hospital laboratories and two independent clinic laboratories serving providers and patients in Arkansas, Kansas, Missouri, and Oklahoma. 

TRANSITIONS 

• NeoGenomics, Inc., of Fort Myers, Florida, promoted George Cardoza to the position of President and Chief Operating Officer, Lab Operations. Prior to coming to NeoGenomics, Cardoza held positions at Protocol Integrated Direct Marketing, Quest Diagnostics, and Sony Music Entertainment. 

Gina Wallar is the new President of the Pharma Services Division at NeoGenomics. Formerly she served at Labcorp and The Parkinson’s Institute. 

• Thermo Fisher Scientific of Waltham, Mass., announced the selection of Karen E. Nelson, PhD, as its new Chief Medical Officer. She was previously President at the J. Craig Venter Institute. 

That’s all the insider intelligence for this report. Look for the next briefing on Monday, August 16, 2021. 

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