October 26, 2020 Intelligence: Late-Breaking Lab News

In Houston, an 18-year-old high school student started a mobile laboratory company to provide COVID-19 tests to home-bound patients. As the youngest emergency medical technician in Texas, Taft Foley, III, saw the need for this service. Texas Mobile Medical Labs is the name of his company and it is emblazoned on his van. It is a CLIA-certified lab offering both molecular and rapid antigen tests for COVID-19. Foley’s lab company has a relationship with Baylor Genetics Laboratories for PCR tests.

MORE ON: Taft Foley III

His company has done 500 COVID-19 tests to date and has earned local and national news coverage. Foley, an honor student and Eagle Scout, says the colleges on his radar screen include Harvard, Stanford, Princeton, and Yale. Pathology programs at these universities might want to reach out to Foley and encourage him to follow a path into laboratory medicine and pathology.


Government and private health plans are struggling to manage the explosion in the number of claims submitted for laboratory-developed tests (LDTs). In a just-issued report from Kalorama Information of Arlington, Va., the company says the market for LDTs “is currently valued at $12 billion and this figure will grow to $17 billion by 2025.” It further notes that “the COVID-19 pandemic is driving demand for new LDTs even as regulatory agencies fight over how to regulate the tests.” As published in the Oct. 4 issue of The Dark Report, California-based Bruce Quinn Associates LLC, did an analysis of 2019 Medicare payment data and determined that from 2018 to 2019 (pre-pandemic), spending on genetic tests, including LDTs, increased by as much as 700% during that period for four Medicare Administrative Contractors (MACs). Pathologists and lab executives should expect payers to take aggressive actions to manage the dramatic rise in the number of LDT claims, such as cutting fees paid  for LDTs in coming years.


• Proscia, Inc., of Philadelphia, named pathologist Monica Santamaria-Fries Cambridge, MD, as its first Digital Transformation Officer. She previously worked at Kaiser Permanente in California for 32 years.

• Becton Dickinson of Franklin Lakes, N.J., promoted Dave Hickey to the position of Executive Vice President and President of Life Sciences, effective Jan. 1, 2021. Hickey currently is BD’s Worldwide President of Integrated Diagnostics Solutions and prior to BD, he held executive positions with Siemens  Diagnostics.

That’s all the insider intelligence for this report. Look for the next briefing on Monday, November 16, 2020.

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