CONSOLIDATION OF PRIVATE PRACTICE PATHOLOGY GROUPS in Washington State has been ongoing. Because of their acquisitions, CellNetix and Incyte Diagnostics are now the state’s two largest pathology groups.
The next challenge for these two pathology super-groups will be developing new ways to add value to a healthcare system moving away from fee-for-service reimbursement and to integrated clinical care.
One such strategy is about to unfold at Incyte. Last month the Spokane-based group acquired Accupath Laboratory Services, Inc., of Seattle. Former owner Robert R. Hasselbrack, M.D., after 45 years of service, was considering retirement.
But instead of retiring, Hasselbrack will take on a new role at Incyte, one that may be unique in the pathology professsion. “Hasselbrack will focus on developing and implementing new ways for pathologists to serve the needs of hospitals, health systems, and accountable care organizations delivering population health under a reformed health care system,” stated Tom Rehwald, CFO of Incyte Diagnostics.
“Incyte Diagnostics has long been interested in the development of a robust com- munity healthcare outreach program which emphasizes disease prevention, wellness, and population health,” said Incyte’s President Christopher Montague, M.D. “In his new role, Dr. Hasselbrack will work in marketing and product development.”
“We are looking to transform pathology into the future and Dr. Hasselbrack has some unique ideas for us, based on his background as a former family physician and emergency room physician,” stated Rehwald. “His background as a treating physician gives him a hands-on perspective that will help us as we develop what we call next-generation pathology services.
“Healthcare reform has created a strong need for providers to focus on preventive medicine,” he said. “Traditionally, that’s not a role that clinical laboratories or anatomic pathology groups have served. To position ourselves in this new marketplace, we will need to have a role in delivering services designed to serve patients at every point along the continuum of care.”
To the Forefront of Care
“Typically, diagnostics drive treatment,” noted Rehwald. “Our goal is to position pathologists at the forefront of the continuum of care. That’s the role Dr. Hasselbrack can fill for us. He has the concepts and the ideas on how to get clinical and anatomic pathology services to fit in this new healthcare environment. We want to formulate his ideas into programs that we can take out to market.
“The first step will be to determine what ACOs want from clinical pathologists and how comprehensive those offerings need to be,” concluded Rehwald. “With that understanding, we can develop pathology services that help the physicians improve patient outcomes in a more cost-effective manner. If we can do that well, then we will succeed and so will our client ACOs.”