“September 15, 1997 Intelligence: Late Breaking Lab News”

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Here’s another sign of financial improvement in the clinical laboratory industry. WDI Capital Markets publishes a quarterly list of healthcare industry earnings. Through 1995, “laboratory services” was always included. But consistently disastrous results in the laboratory industry caused WDI to drop that category almost 18 months ago. Thus, it was interesting to see WDI’s second quarter earnings summary include laboratory services again. Laboratory service company earnings were up 6.3% for the second quarter.

Hospital earnings were up 15.6%. Diagnostic company earnings increased 63.8%. The big gainer was “imaging devices.” Earnings rose 466% in this category. At the bottom of the list were surgical devices and generic pharmaceuticals, down 31.3% and 33.2%, respectively.


Medicare is set to begin reimbursing doctors for services delivered through telemedicine systems. Funding and authorization was in the recent balanced budget bill for fiscal 1999. HCFA authorized a three-year demonstration project supporting telemedicine in 1996. Increased telepathology activity would be a logical outcome from these developments. Adding to the momentum is a Federal Trade Communications Commission (FCC) authorization for subsidies of up to $400 million per year. The money is funded from telephone companies and consumers. It will be used to upgrade telecommunications networks serving hospitals in rural areas.

Presbyterian Laboratory Services (PLS) Charlotte, North Carolina recently held an open house for employees. The site was the new off-site core laboratory facility near the Charlotte airport. Build-outs at the facility are about to begin, and PLS wanted staff to become familiar with the facility and its location.

Edward Bukstel, president of Bukstel & Halfpenny, reports that the company’s “Dr. Chart” software is a finalist in competition to win a Microsoft Industry Solution Award for 1997. Winners will be announced at a meeting in Las Vegas this week.

NeoPath, Inc. of Redmond, Washington submitted its amendment to the PreMarket Approval Application for the AutoPap® System to the
Food And Drug Administration (FDA). The company hopes to gain approval to use the AutoPap System as a primary screener for Pap smears. The FDA has not yet announced a hearing date on NeoPath’s application.

Universal Standard Medical Laboratories of Southfield, Michigan announced a name change. Effective August 25, the laboratory will be known as Universal Standard Healthcare, Inc. The financially troubled laboratory wants to emphasize its managed care services division instead of clinical lab services.


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