November 27, 2006 “Intelligence: Late Breaking Lab News”

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“Postal Rage” is the term coined to describe the phenomenon of crazed postal workers rampaging through post office facilities shooting at co-workers. In recent days, the nation may have seen its first example of “Patient Rage” in a hospital. On November 20, a patient standing in line to get a prescription from the ambulatory pharmacy at Shands Jacksonville Hospital in Jacksonville, Florida, got frustrated with the wait, pulled out a gun, and killed the pharmacist.

MORE ON: “Patient Rage”

Arrested on the hospital grounds for the murder of the pharmacist was 46-year-old Brenda Joyce Coney. Karen Shack, a witness to the shooting, told a news reporter “She said, ‘I’m not going to stand in line anymore.’ She took the gun and went ‘Bam! Bam!’ Shot the lady twice.” Shack then said that Coney left the pharmacy and returned minutes later and put another bullet into the pharmacist. Given the proclivity for copycat crimes in the United States, it may be only a matter of time before a similar shooting happens at another hospital.

COMPETITIVE BID DEMO APPROACHES, BUT NO DETAILS FROM CMS

It remains unknown which two Metropolitan Statistical Areas (MSAs) will be the sites for the Medicare demonstration project for competitive bidding of laboratory services. The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) has indicated it would issue bidding documents on January 1, 2007, and will implement the demonstration on April 1, 2007. On November 15, the Clinical Laboratory Coalition met with officials from CMS specifically to express concerns about the paucity of information and potential for this project to disrupt patient access to laboratory services in the regions selected for the competitive bidding demonstration project.

ADD TO: Medicare Demo

CMS had two officials at the meeting. Tim Love, CMS Director, Office of Re- search, Development, and Information and Linda Lebovic, Demonstration Project Manager for Competitive Bidding for Clinical Laboratories, represented CMS at the November 15 meeting. CMS’ message to the lab industry was that the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) needed to approve the design of the demonstration project. CMS indicates that once OMB approval is received, it intends to announce the sites for the project and post the full details on its Web site. Included will be a market analysis of the first sites, along with test volumes and test weights.

TRIPATH’S EARNINGS

TriPath Imaging, Inc. expects its acquisition by Becton Dickinson and Company (BD) to be completed, possibly before year end. TriPath reported its third quarter earnings. Revenue was $26.0 million, an increase of 21% from third quarter 2005. Net income was $68,000, compared with net income of $1.8 million for third quarter 2005. On December 19, TriPath’s shareholders meet to vote on adopting the merger agreement.

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