“October 27, 1997 Intelligence:  Late Breaking Lab News”

First confirmation that CPT codes for automated cytology are on the way comes from NeoPath, Inc. in Redmond, Washington. The company announced that, effective January 1, 1998, CPT code 88152 will cover the procedure involving NeoPath’s AutoPap® 300 QC System for Pap smear rescreening.

MORE ON:… CPT CODES
Although other automated cytology CPT codes are expected to soon be available, there are still hurdles to overcome before widespread acceptance of this technology will occur. Currently healthcare payers see this technology as adding cost to the system. That may change as vendors for automated cytology systems continue to educate providers and payers alike. Also, continued usage of these systems in clinical settings will provide evidence as to their effectiveness and value.

ADD TO:… NEOPATH
Reuters recently reported that an investment group including George Soros, the well-known financier, recently bought a $23 million stake in NeoPath and now controls 9.8% of the company’s stock.

IS HEALTHCARE A BUSINESS?

One theme of THE DARK REPORT is our belief that laboratories, indeed all healthcare providers, must acquire business savvy to survive the managed care evolution. Evidently that concept is still foreign to the American Medical Association. Crain’s Chicago Business published an item worth passing along: Business celebrity does have its limits: …despite all the self-promotion by Sunbeam Corp. Chairman Al Dunlap as a company-saving job-slasher, the Chicago-based American Medical Association took little note of “Chainsaw Al” before its recent ill-fated deal to endorse Sunbeam products. “I wouldn’t have recognized him, quite frankly,” concedes AMA Chairman Thomas Reardon, an Oregon physician. “I’m not in the business world.” (our emphasis.)

MORE ON:… BUSINESS
What is particularly ironic about Dr. Reardon’s comment is that his association had just signed, then voided, a major business deal for the AMA to endorse Sunbeam products in exchange for a share of the profits. Now Sunbeam is suing the AMA for $20 million in damages for backing out of the deal.

Early registrations for THE DARK REPORT’S Pathology Income Symposium & Workshop indicate that a strong group of business-minded pathologists will be in attendance. Scheduled for November 8 in Scottsdale, the program is focused entirely on the subject of pathology compensation. For details, call 800-560- 6363.

HEARD ON THE STREET:
Two East Coast laboratories raided the West Coast for talent. Recently Dynacare hooked Rob Alpert from San Diego to run its Albany, New York venture. American Medical Laboratories in Chantilly, Virginia persuaded Los Angeles-based Vicki Di Francesca to join its sales and marketing team. Is this a comment on how valuable the market considers lab executives who’ve gained experience in California’s managed care crucible?

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