“October 11, 1999 Intelligence:  Late Breaking Lab News”

Here’s a hats-off to Ortho-Clinical Diagnostics (OCD). At a time when everything in the healthcare system seems to be taking things away from clinical laboratories, OCD has organized a worthwhile laboratory management best practices day for its most loyal customers. Started four years ago, this unique event is championed and nurtured by James Ellis, OCD’s Director of Laboratory Consulting. Its quality and impact grows with each year, and that’s reflected in the growing numbers of attendees who represent lab administrators from the leading hospitals and IDNs around the United States.

ADD TO…OCD

This year’s event, held September 28-29 in Dallas, provided a fascinating look at the new President of Ortho-Clinical Diagnostics. Catherine Burzik gave a no-nonsense presentation about practical management techniques for getting results fast. She inspired the lab administrators in attendance with her “BAT” meetings—Business Action Teams are fast, short-lived, action-oriented teams organized to swiftly resolve a particular business issue. They meet weekly at 7 a.m., and include all personnel relevant to the issue at hand. Since the President (Ms. Burzik) chairs each meeting, action items get an immediate blessing for implementation. That’s certainly one way to insure that things get done quickly!

AETNA GETTING INDIGESTION FROM ITS ACQUISITION OF PRUDENTIAL

When Aetna, Inc. paid $1 billion for Prudential Healthcare earlier this year, it got a lot more problems than it bargained for. Aetna now acknowledges that losses from the Prudential business unit will be around $200 million for the year. This is twice the original estimated loss. Further, expectations are that the Prudential business will be lucky to hit break-even in 2000. With the addition of Prudential Healthcare, Aetna now insures about 10% of the American population. It has contracts with more than 400,000 of the nation’s 600,000 physicians.

NEW SOLUTION FOR COLLECTING LAB FEES

Here’s a possible solution for labs frustrated at the no-pay habits of patients. Reuters New Service reports that an Iranian hospital has set up a cell to detain patients who are unable to pay their medical bills. Sina, a state-run hospital in Tehran, created a cell in its orthopedic unit, with three guards. “To make sure patients will fulfill their financial obligations, we began detaining patients who fail to pay several months ago,” said an unnamed director of the hospital. The news report also said that the hospital had been forced to readmit two inmates for treatment because of injuries they suffered while attempting to escape!

Pathology Service Associates, LLC, (PSA) the national organization of state pathology networks, announced the appointment of Edward W. Catalano, M.D. as Co- Chairman. His home practice is Richland Pathology in Columbia, South Carolina. As Co-Chairman, he’ll share duties with Louis D. Wright, Jr., M.D., PSA’s other PSA Co-Chairman.

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