“November 30, 1998 Intelligence: Late Breaking Lab News”

For pathologists interested in preserving and enhancing their income, THE DARK REPORT’S Private Pathologist Income Symposium was just the item. Held in Scottsdale on November 13-14, it attracted a sell-out crowd of pathologists and practice administrators. Interest in the symposium was so strong that registrations sold out two weeks before the event.

Experts at the symposium hammered at similar themes:

  1. become proactive at making your pathology practice a preferred provider in your community; to sit and do nothing is to fail.
  2. develop “value added” AP services for clinicians and managed care companies because reimbursement is more generous for such services.
  3. marketing yourself and your practice will be the difference between success and bankruptcy. It’s time to invest money in marketing…now!

Pathologists at the symposium were in general agreement with these themes. Look for increased marketing by individual pathology practices in the future.


Two of the three blood brothers have released information on their year 2000 readiness plans. At Quest Diagnostics Incorporated, executives established a dedicated program in 1997. It is comprehensive, covering seven areas: infrastructure, applications, lab instruments, facilities, desktop PCs, external suppliers, and payers. To date, Quest has spent $20 million on Y2K readiness. The company estimates an additional $40 to $60 million will be required to address all Y2K needs, including new systems.

At Laboratory Corporation of America, similar Y2K readiness efforts are under way. LabCorp finished an initial assessment and inventory of needs. A strategy to handle these issues is expected by year-end, followed by contingency planning in first quarter 1999. LabCorp has already spent $2.5 million on Y2K readiness. It estimates additional costs of between $20 and $25 million, not including the purchase of new systems.

Congratulations to Michael Bechich, M.D. for his success with this year’s conference on Anatomic Pathology Informatics, Imaging and the Internet (APIII) at the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine. Held November 5-7, it attracted 275 registrants and 32 vendor participants eager to learn the latest applications of new information system technology to anatomic pathology. The conference is becoming the place where recognized innovators in anatomic pathology technology come to share their knowledge.

Acute care hospital prices fell for the month of September, according to the U.S. Department of Labor’s Producer Price Index. The September index fell by 0.1%, and climbed only 0.5% for the 12-month period ending in September. The physician service price index jumped 0.5% in September, and rose 2.1% for the 12-month period ending in September. Although HMOs are pushing double digit premium increases on employers for 1999, it is certainly not healthcare providers who are driving costs upward.


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