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14 May 10 Alternatives to LabCorp

Alternatives to LabCorpI recently received an email from Jasmine, a patient who is unhappy with both LabCorp and Quest Diagnostics. I found her complaints interesting so here’s the content and my reply:

Aside from Quest Diagnostics, do you know of any national labs that I can use instead of lab corp? They’re horrible.
Thanks. Jasmine

There are many regional labs but after extensive research I discovered that due to the regulations imposed on labs under the CLIA federal law, and the proliferation of managed care, there are very few labs that can be considered “national” labs. The consolidation of the industry has lead to even more business for these two lab giants. Not surprisingly, when local laboratories expand past the regional phase, either LabCorp or Quest Diagnostics buys them.

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 Depending on where you live, there are local and regional labs that offer great services and are likely to be accepted by your insurance. They usually do not have as many service centers as the two large ones and are more likely to work directly with your doctor’s office. An example is Bio-Reference Labs in New Jersey and New York, Florida Reference Labs in South Florida and other such smaller lab companies. There are also others where you can mail in your specimen and have direct access to results. One of the leaders is Direct Laboratory Services (DirectLabs). The problem with them is that while you are dealing with DirectLabs through the web but you are also dealing with LabCorp, as they will send you to LabCorp to give blood for the test. This is basically a wholesaler that has LabCorp doing all the work for them and they provide the results for you. They only accept credit card payments and do not accept insurance. While their prices are lower than going directly through LabCorp, you will experience all the frustrations of dealing with Laboratory Corporation of America locations.

LabOne was considered a formidable contender but got acquired by Quest Diagnostics. Almost on a weekly basis, you will notice national labs acquiring smaller regional ones. Another option is using a hospital based lab. The problem with hospital based alternatives is that they may charge more for the services. If you’ve had enough with the big national laboratories, check with your insurance company to see the regional labs that are part of their approved networks.

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It reminds me of the old AVIS rent a car ads whose slogan was “We try harder.”

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Reader's Comments

  1. |

    You might want to check out ARUP Laboratories in Salt Lake City, Utah. It is a national lab, but with just one location. There are hospitals all over the nation that use this lab. ARUP is much smaller, but rated higher for quality and value than LabCorp and Quest.

  2. |

    If you are in the Southeast, you should visit Southern Diagnostic Laboratories. Their service is great and the wait time is short if any.

  3. |

    Overall great website. One thing you did not mention about Their practices contribute to a high risk of leaking patients’ medical lab records. If you create an online account with DirectLabs so that you can order your own medical lab tests, Direct Labs will email your unencrypted login ID and password to your email account. Every time you change your password for your DirectLabs account, Direct Labs will email your unencrypted login ID and new password to you.

    Every healthcare professional knows that this is unacceptable and compromises patient confidentiality.

    Any 14 year-old with access to a computer could hack an email account, then log in to your Direct Labs account and download your medical file and lab results. There have been numerous reports in the mainstream media about Gmail, Yahoo, AOL and other mail accounts being hacked.

    Would you want your confidential medical results handed over to a hacker, private investigator, government agent or ex-spouse, thanks to Direct Labs shoddy IT practices?

    I tried to discuss this threat to patient privacy with Direct Labs. The first time, they hung up on me. The second time, I was told that everyone was “on the phone and unavailable.”

    Guard your privacy, and respect your patients if you are a health provider. If you want your patient records to remain confidential, do not do business with Direct Labs. There are better options available.

  4. |

    I’ve worked at both Quest and Labcorp. I never once had any doubt that the quality of work at Quest was outstanding, but here at Labcorp, I’m constantly amazed at the level of incompetency and substandard specimen handling. There’s no thought of the effect on the patient if results are wrong or specimens are compromised in any way. Just process it and release results, that’s how we’ll get paid.

    This is by far the worse place I’ve ever worked. If you’re a patient, do whatever you must to avoid having your samples sent to Labcorp. I won’t even mention how poorly employees are treated…

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