November 10, 2008 “Intelligence: Late Breaking Lab News”

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In this country, medical tourism is generally understood to mean someone traveling to a foreign country to access less expensive healthcare. But a handful of U.S. hospitals are ready to make domestic medical tourism a paying proposition—and boost their occupancy rates at the same time. Earlier this year, Maine-based grocery company Hannaford Brothers announced that employees needing hip and knee replacement could have the surgery done at a Singapore hospital. With a knee replacement costing $43,000 in the U.S. versus $ 9,000 in Singapore, the savings would be significant. What happened next surprised executives at Hannaford.

MORE ON: Hannaford

 Hannaford’s Director of Associated Health and Wellness, Peter Hayes, explained, “After the announcement, I got calls from several [U.S.] hospitals offering to match Singapore on pricing.” Hannaford, which is self-insured, responded by asking Aetna, which manages its health benefits, to evaluate these offers and negotiate a favorable agreement. Hannaford selected a hospital in Boston. Employees using this source for knee or hip surgery will pay no deductible or out-of-pocket. The employee and a companion will also get a travel allowance. Experts believe more U.S. hospitals will respond to the threat of medical tourism by negotiating special package pricing with selected employers.

MEDTOX REPORTS REVENUE GAIN FOR THIRD QUARTER

MEDTOX Scientific, Inc., of St. Paul, Minnesota, reported third quarter financial performance. Revenue was up almost 9%, from $15.7 million in Q3-07 to $17.4 million in Q3-08. Known as a drugs of abuse testing (DOA) lab, in recent years MED- TOX has diversified its lab testing services. Like other DOA labs, MEDTOX saw a decline in test referrals from existing industrial clients due to a slack economy. However, solid growth of its clinical laboratory business, combined with new DOA clients, were responsible for the company’s overall revenue growth.

GENOMIC HEALTH GROWS RAPIDLY

Genomic Health, Inc., of Redwood City, California, reported that revenue grew 78% for third quarter. Sales of the company’s Oncotype DX breast cancer assay reached $28.1 million for Q3-08, compared with $15.8 million in Q3-07. The company reports that more than 75,000 patients have been tested with the Oncotype DX assay.

Dark Daily Update

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….the new non-invasive testing system for continuous monitoring of hemoglobin and oxygen in blood that Masimo Corporation is now providing to selected hospitals here in the United States.

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