“June 16, 2003 Intelligence: Late Breaking Lab News”

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Not all segments of the laboratory testing industry are pushing intensely to oppose an expected attempt to reintroduce legislation restoring the 20% patient co-payment for Medicare Part B lab testing services. (See TDR, May 27, 2003.) Sources tell THE DARK REPORT that some of the more powerful lab organizations believe competitive advantage will accrue to them if the 20% copay returns. Thus, in contrast to past years, their efforts to lobby Congress are much less intense.

MORE ON: 20% Copay Lobbying

With the federal budget currently running a deficit, lab industry lobbyists are concerned that renewed efforts in Congress to re-establish the 20% patient co-payment for Medicare Part B lab testing services will be successful. For that reason, it is important for the lab industry to act in a unified manner, which some activists believe may not be happening at this time.


PACLAB, the regional laboratory network covering Washington State, is about to launch its Web-based lab test reporting portal for physicians, called PacNet. PacNet allows the physician to look at all his/her patient’s lab test data, including hospital inpatient test results, by pooling relevant data from the eight participating hospital labs and PAML, the commercial lab partner. What makes PacNet unusual and noteworthy is that it was developed with the help of Microsoft Corporation.

ADD TO: PacNet

Both PACLAB and Microsoft expect that PacNet will demonstrate how new Web-based software tools can allow laboratories and other providers to extract clinical data from multiple repositories and present it to physicians through a single Web portal—without the delays and considerable expense of writing CPU-to-CPU interfaces between different LIS products. Overlake Hospital Medical Center in Bellevue, Washington will be the PacNet demonstration site for PACLAB. This hospital is near Microsoft’s headquarters and provides healthcare services to many Microsoft employees and their families. After initial roll-out to all physician-clients of PACLAB, PacNet will be enhanced to add cumulative test data and possibly anatomic pathology reports.


Competition in the ongoing Pap smear war between Cytyc Corporation and TriPath Imaging, Inc. will heat up with the latest development. Last week Cytyc announced that it had received approval from the FDA to market its imaging System for commercial use. The company said the “cytotechnologist workload limit for the ThinPrep Imaging System has been established at 200 Imager-assisted slides in no less than an 8-hour work- day, as described in the product labeling.”


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