September 10, 2018 Intelligence: Late Breaking Lab News

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News that a laboratory’s courier truck was high-jacked in broad daylight with patient specimens aboard puts the spotlight on whether the security practices labs use to protect drivers, vehicles, and the patient specimens they may be carrying are adequate. On Aug. 3 in Durham, N.C., a driver of a courier vehicle owned by Laboratory Corporation of America was confronted by an armed gunman. He took the vehicle and drove off. The LabCorp driver was unharmed. The vehicle was later recovered. However, local police are mystified because the 79 patient samples in that courier vehicle had disappeared.

MORE ON: Courier Car Robbery

LabCorp has notified physicians about the missing specimens. It is also offering to pay for identity protection services because personal information was with some of the samples. This episode demonstrates why it is useful for clinical labs and pathology groups to review both their security practices and their procedures before a breach involving protected patient data occurs.


Physicians who are members of the American Academy of Family Physicians (AAFP) are being asked to complete a survey on how the PAMA lab test price cuts are affecting their ability to serve their patients. In its bulletin, the AAFP said, “The goal is to persuade Congress to fix PAMA so that in-office labs can afford to stay open and patients can continue to benefit from point-of-care testing services.” This survey demonstrates that the PAMA price cuts are creating a financial pinch for physicians who operate in-office laboratories.


  • Roland Diggelmann, Chief Operating Officer of Roche Diagnostics and a member of the Roche Corporate Executive Committee, will leave the company, as of Sept. 30. He joined Roche in 2008 and assumed his current position as head of Roche Diagnostics in 2008. Formerly, he held executive positions at Zimmer, Sulzer Orthopedics, and AllPro AG.
  • Roche appointed Michael Heuer to be interim CEO of Roche Diagnostics and a member of the Roche Corporate Executive Committee. Heuer moves up from position as Region Head of Roche Diagnostics’ division covering Europe, Middle East, Africa, and Latin America. He joined Roche in 1998 and formerly worked at Boehringer Mannheim.

That’s all the insider intelligence for this report.
Look for the next briefing on Monday, October 1, 2018.

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…a recent study that discovered “low-value” medical lab tests and other overused medical procedures led to $282 million in “wasted” healthcare spending in Washington State in one year. This study was part of the national Choosing Wisely initiative.

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