October 20, 2008 “Intelligence: Late Breaking Lab News”

Once again, laboratory test unbundling is on the radar screen of federal regulators. Included in the 2009 work plan for the federal Office of Inspector General (OIG) is a review of laboratory test unbundling and a review of the extent of variation in laboratory test payment rates among Medicare contractors. OIG will determine if clinical laboratories have unbundled profile or panel tests by submitting claims for multiple dates of service or by drawing specimens on consecutive days. It also will examine the extent to which the Medicare carriers have controls to detect inappropriate payments for laboratory tests.


Hoping to increase market share, build patient loyalty, and fend off national lab competitors, Premiere Clinical Lab of Lady Lake and Leesburg, Florida, is offering its patients the choice of having specimens drawn at home or at a patient service center (PSC). According to Premiere’s President, Susan Rendon, M.D., although the home collection service adds to the lab’s costs, patients and physicians like it. Plus, the home service generated a favorable story for the lab in The Villages Daily Sun, a local newspaper.


Genetic profiling is being offered at a discounted price to as many as 10,000 employees, family members, and friends of the Scripps Health system i n San Diego, California. Researchers will assess changes in the behavior of the participating individuals over the next 20 years. Four companies are collaborating to offer this research to assess the behavioral effects of personal genetic testing on patients. Scripps Translational Science Institute (STSI), a research division of Scripps, wants to know if personal genomic testing will motivate participants to exercise, eat well, quit smoking, and pursue illness prevention. The study co-sponsors are Navigenics Inc. of Redwood Shores, California; Affymetrix Inc. of Santa Clara, California; and Microsoft Corporation of Redmond, Washington. Study participants age 18 and older can get a scan of their genome and a detailed analysis of their genetic risks. Participants will get guidance on how to use the results from Navigenics and be able to store information in Microsoft’s electronic health record, called HealthVault.

Dark Daily Update

dark_daily_logoHave you caught the latest e-briefings from DARK Daily? If so, then you’d know about…

….CMS’ approval of the first new agency in 40 years to accredit U.S. hospitals. Norway-based Det Norske Veritas has already accredited 22 U.S. hospitals with its ISO 90001-based program.

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