November 25 2019 intelligence late breaking lab news

Medicare lab test price cuts mandated by the Protecting Access to Medicare Act (PAMA) are eroding the finances of urology groups that do in-office clinical laboratory testing. In the November issue of Urology Times, urologist Robert A. Dowling, MD, wrote a news story that identified the cuts in Medicare Part B prices for the lab tests most frequently ordered by urologists. “2019 rates are about 19% lower than 2017 rates for almost all of these commonly-performed tests [ordered by urologists],” said Dowling. “For example, total PSA was reimbursed $25.23 in 2017 and $20.44 in 2019 (–19%). This was the 20th most common lab test reimbursed by the Medicare Part B program in 2017 and ranked 15th in terms of total payments.”

MORE ON: Urology Lab Tests

Dowling also noted that, “Serum testosterone similarly declined 19% from $35.41 in 2017 to $28.68 in 2019 (ranked 57 in number of payments). Automated urinalysis codes also declined 19%, while the manual urinalysis codes with and without microscopy dropped 0.6% and 7.6% respectively over the 3-year period.”


On Nov. 20, online news outlet Gizmodo published a story with the headline “Consumer DNA Testing May Be the Biggest Health Scam of the Decade!” The story details the public failings of genetic tests offered to consumers by certain companies promising to deliver accurate, relevant, and useful results. Pathologists and clinical lab managers will find some of the examples to be noteworthy. The Gizmodo story can be found at this link:


  • Abbott Laboratories issued a statement that Miles White would “step down” as CEO of the company as of March 31, 2020, but would continue to serve as Executive Chairman of the Board. White became CEO of Abbott 21 years ago. White started at Abbott in 1984 and previously worked at McKinsey and Company.
  • On the same day, Abbott Laboratories announced the selection of Robert Ford as its new CEO. Ford is currently President and COO of Abbott, a position he has held since October 2018. Ford joined Abbott in 1996 and prior to that worked at Becton, Dickinson and Company.

That’s all the insider intelligence for this report.
Look for the next briefing on Monday, December 16, 2019.

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…how several experts went public recently with their concerns about artificial intelligence (AI). They say databases and algorithms used in healthcare may introduce bias into the diagnostic process, and that AI may not perform as intended, posing a potential for patient harm.

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