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Laboratory Corporation of America – Tell Your Story and File a Complaint
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28 Jul 13 Labcorp Scamming Federal Government

LabCorp ScamAndrew Baker, the former CEO of Unilab and current CEO of Huntington Life Sciences, has written an article for The Huffington Post in which he asks the federal government to stop LabCorp and another lab company from continuing to scam the Medicare and Medicaid programs of billions of dollars.

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Mr. Baker had previously filed a whistleblower lawsuit against LabCorp in 2007 alleging that LabCorp violated the federal False Claims Act and Anti-Kickback Statutes.  Those case is still in court.

In the article he estimates that LabCorp and the other lab have cost taxpayers $15 billion since 1996 in the form of false claims stemming from illegal kickbacks to Aetna, Cigna, United Healthcare and Blue Cross.

The claims are that Labcorp is breaking federal laws by deeply discounting lab fees to private insurance companies, sometimes charging them for laboratory tests even below their costs. In exchange, the insurance companies pressure doctors in their networks to send all of their patients’ lab work, including Medicare and Medicaid patients, to LabCorp.

He claims that Labcorp funds the kickbacks, in the form of lower lab fees for private insurance companies, by charging Medicare and Medicaid patients the highest possible fee instead of offering them the lowest charged price, and by pressuring doctors to send all of their lab work exclusively to Labcorp. Other categories in Medicaid and Medicare require that the government be charged the lowest charged fees by a provider.

Mr. Baker also mentions LabCorp’s $50 million settlement with the state of California for overcharging California’s Medicaid program and for providing kickbacks to physicians for referrals.

As a result of his article, pressure is increasing for government intervention in laboratory pricing for government programs.  He advocates for clarification of the intent of current federal law that would require laboratories to charge Medicare and Medicaid their “best price”, just as California has already done.  This would require that Laboratory Corporation of America can only charge Medicare and Medicaid the lowest price they charge private insurance companies or HMOs. Which in turn means a massive hit to Labcorp’s bottom line. It would also open up the market to smaller labs which don’t have the multi-tier, lower than cost pricing intended to put them out of business. Such a hit to Labcorp’s financials would tumble their stock (NYSE: LH).

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26 Jul 13 LabCorp Shareholders Disappointed

LabCorp Shareholders are DisappointedLabCorp shareholders were disappointed at the lower than expected earnings that Laboratory Corporation of America, also known as LabCorp, revealed. Medical laboratory operator Laboratory Corp. of America Holdings said Friday that its net income slipped in the second quarter and lowered its guidance for the full year. This was a major disappointment to analysts and shareholders alike, but not to the patients who have received lackluster service at LabCorp facilities.

Its revenue rose 3 percent but the company said the advance was constrained by reduced Medicare payments, steep federal budget cuts in April, and delays and denials of coverage by some health care payers after new payment codes were introduced. Its shares slipped by midday.

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LabCorp said its net income fell to $151.9 million, or $1.62 per share, in the second quarter ended June 30, down from $153.3 million, or $1.56 per share, a year earlier. Revenue rose 3 percent to $1.47 billion from $1.42 billion.

LabCorp said testing volumes rose 5 percent during the quarter, but revenue per request for testing fell 1.8 percent. It said testing for drugs of abuse increased. The company expects to earn between $6.90 and $7.10 per share for the year, down from $6.85 to $7.15 per share.

LabCorp said earlier this year that reduced Medicare payments will cut its annual net income by about 35 cents per share, and it maintained that view on Friday. Analysts are forecasting earnings of $7.08 per share.

The company still expects its annual revenue to grow 2 to 3 percent, which implies a total of $5.78 billion to $5.84 billion. Analysts project $5.79 billion in revenue on average. Shares of LabCorp (NYSE: LH) lost 74 cents on the announcement. As of today, July 26th, shares of LabCorp are trading at around $98 per share.

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14 Aug 10 LabCorp Billing Department – An Insider Tells All

I received an email from a LabCorp Billing Department employee who exposes what’s behind all the billing problems. It’s a good inside view of LabCorp billing from an insider whistle blower who’s name we’re keeping confidential.
Labcorp BillingI work at one of LabCorp’s many billing departments around the country. The place sucks. The department, the company, the manager, and supervisors. I come in every day and my co-workers are like robots in a factory.
 
The job is fast paced and I’m not surprised about the billing complaints because, yes we do make mistakes in billing. Why? Because we’re told to do it at a super speed/superman rate which causes many of us to miss other vital information. If we don’t meet their numbers, we get called in and get “talked to” about our poor performance. The job really is simple to do if you’re allowed to do to it the way humans should. It’s the company and superiors that make the work atrocious.
 
LabCorp Billing SupervisorHere’s a typical day for the billing people: come in, work, work, work, get bitched at by superior for talking/laughing with co-workers/having emotion/acting human/not performing to LabCorp’s standards, work, work, work, get bitched at some more, work, then the day’s over.  Actually, that’s the setting in other departments in the company. I’ve talked to others, not one of them have anything nice to say about the company or their superiors.  We’re not supposed to have any type of human emotion or try to enjoy our work environment, apparently. Yet the ones trying to impose the rules are don’t even follow it. 
 
My superiors aren’t doing crap and chat with one another for most of the day and the fingers get pointed at us on the floor when corporate isn’t happy with our performance. When I say LabCorp Billing Problemswe’re like robots, it ‘s true. That’s what they want us to be. Think of a sweatshop setting.  When they’re not happy, they create dumber rules and added stress.
 
If you absolutely need money, then apply here. Otherwise, this should be your last resort. It COULD be a good company to work for, but they need people who don’t have sticks up their asses and actually know what they’re doing and can treat and respect people who are below them.

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18 May 10 LabCorp Billing Patient For Declined Tests

LabCorp Billing Mistakes Require a Big EraserI received this email from Anne. She’s very upset that LabCorp is billing her for tests that she declined when she was at the LabCorp center in Texas. In addition, the test that she specifically approved because it was to be paid for by Medicare was not performed. It’s not clear if the techs at the center made the mistake or if it was the laboratory. Whoever may have made the errors, it was not Anne and she is not required to pay. Instead of resolving the problem promptly, LabCorp continues their collection process. A suggestion to LabCorp, it’s never too late to fix a mistake. Based on the amount of complaints on this blog, I recommend the big eraser. It’s available by the case.

LabCorp Bills Medicare for TestsSince Anne is a Medicare recipient, she will be taking this matter directly to the government. I’m confident that this matter will be resolved and she will not have to pay. Even though Anne gave us authority to print her personal information, her letter was redacted for privacy purposes.

May 11, 2010

ATTN: PATIENT SERVICES

Laboratory Corporation of America Holdings
PO Box 2240
Burlington NC 27216-2240

Ref: Invoice 115XXXXX

Amount: $296.00

I attended your facility on March 29, 2010 with a request for services from my doctor’s office.

At your facility, a lady processed my paper-work. She took copies of:

  1. My Medicare card
  2. My insurance identification card
  3. My Mutual of Omaha pink physician sticker
  4. My TX driver’s license

She then informed me that two of the blood tests requested by my doctor:

  1. 80061 – LIPID PANEL
  2. 84443 –TSH

…would not be covered by Medicare. She printed out your Form CMS-R-131, listing those two tests and instructed me to choose and check an option, then sign and date the form.

I checked Option 3. “I don’t want the laboratory test(s) listed above. I understand with this choice I am not responsible for payment and I cannot appeal to see if Medicare would pay.”

I then signed and dated the form and the lady provided me with a copy. A copy of this form is included with this letter.

Your representative assured me that the remaining test requested by my doctor was a procedure covered by Medicare. Had she informed me otherwise, I would have most certainly declined that test as well.

Subsequently I was contacted by my doctor’s office to discuss the results of the blood test and they provided me with a copy of these results.

Patient Service Center Request LCM Req #: 50057XXXXXX (Copy enclosed).

The two test results were for the two procedures I had declined:

  1.  80061 – LIPID PANEL
  2. 84443 –TSH
  3.  

NO OTHER TESTS HAD BEEN CARRIED OUT.

 I then received your Invoice # 115XXXXX billing me for the two procedures I had specifically declined, PLUS procedures you had not even carried out.

Why am I being billed? As a result of my complaint, all I have received so far from your Patient Customer Service is a completely pointless form letter, clearly assuming I’m not particularly bright and explaining that the bill I am questioning is for clinical laboratory services performed at the request of my physician.

I have been checking up on your company online and I wasn’t surprised to find pages of complaints against you on every consumer protection website going. People have even gone so far as to dedicate websites to exposing Lab Corp.

I ask that you resolve this issue immediately otherwise I shall send copies of everything to the Texas Attorney General’s Office in Austin, Texas. In view of all the government litigation against you that I’ve been reading about, I’m sure they will be more than happy to help me.

Sincerely

Anne XXXXXXX

Attachments: 

  1. Copy of front and back of my Mutual of Omaha Insurance Identification Card.
  2. Pink Mutual of Omaha Physician Sticker
  3. Copy of your FORM CMS-R-131 clearing indication the declined procedures
  4. Copy of LabCorp Patient Service Center Request LCM Req # 50057XXXXXX listing the 2 test results submitted to my doctor.

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18 Jan 10 LabCorp Loses Blood Samples Again

Labcorp Blood Test LostHere’s a very common complaint. Patient walks into a LabCorp location, has blood drawn, LabCorp loses the blood samples and still bills for the test. This very illegal LabCorp billing practice will eventually backfire. How can LabCorp billing charge for an exam that they did not do? Worse yet, how could they lose the blood samples? Even worse, can it have been tested and another patient receive the results as if their own? It all reminds me of a Looney Toons cartoon I used to watch when I was a little kid. A long floppy eared dog goes running after another animal and stops in its track saying “which way did he go??? Which way did he go???”

Here’s an email that I recently received. It tells the complete story:

Couldn’t believe that there is a whole website devoted to Labcorp screw ups! On November 23rd, 2009, my husband and I both went to Labcorp with physicians work orders in hand. After waiting about an hour, we finally had our respective blood drawn. My husband’s was routine. I am a cancer patient and had two orders, one from my oncologist and the other from my primary care doctor. Even though the facility was very busy and it was a Monday (I should have known better), there was only one phlebotomist on hand. She stated that she was the only one drawing blood there for the past month.

We never heard from our doctor with the results, so on a visit this past weekend, we asked our doctor what the results were. She stated she never received them and proceeded to call Labcorp. She was told they had no record of us going into their facility in November. On a hunch, I called our provider, Humana, on Monday and was told Labcorp had billed them over $500 for my labwork on November 23rd and also had billed them for my husband’s. So, according to labcorp, we never went there on November 23rd, yet they billed Humana over $500!! Meanwhile, we had to have our blood re-drawn yesterday. This time we went to Quest Diagnostics. Maybe we’ll have better luck there. I have filed a complaint with Internal Affairs at Humana and hope to follow up with a letter to labcorp if I can find the proper person to send it to.

Carolyn

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27 Sep 09 LabCorp Billing Patients More Than Allowed

LabCorp Billing & Attorney Who Want to Hear From YouI recently received an email from John Hoevel, a prominent attorney in Chicago, who is thinking about filing a class action lawsuit against LabCorp for over billing patients. It seems that LabCorp is billing the patient’s insurance company and then over-billing the patient more than the patient responsibility portion of the insurance (or as LabCorp Billing & Over Chargingthey call it in the insurance world, more than the co-payment). The bottom line is that if LabCorp is billing patients more than they are allowed, Hoevel & Associates wants to stop them.

He would like to hear from you if:

1. Your insurance company processed a claim for LabCorp services, and

2. LabCorp or LCA Collections billed you for a balance higher than the patient responsibility amount shown on your insurance company’s Explanation of Benefits (EOB), and

3. You paid the balance, or any portion thereof flagyl pills.

You can contact Mr. John Hoevel by emailing him at lab@hoevellaw.com. All emails will be kept confidential and you may have an opportunity to recover some of those over-billings.

If you are a LabCorp employee who knows about this or any other unethical practice by LabCorp, please contact Mr. Hoevel. Your statements can be very useful in stopping unethical actions by LabCorp and you and your job will be fully protected by the law under the Whistleblower Act. You might even get a reward.

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18 Jul 09 LabCorp Denies Services to Heart Attack Patient Over Old $7 Debt

Labcorp Handwritten Note on DebtMany may have already heard about LabCorp’s bold move in denying services to a heart attack patient over an old debt of $7, but I just want to make sure that everyone hears about this incident. Below is the article by Donna Smith, the patient’s wife. She rightfully denounced Laboratory Corporation of America’s practice of disallowing services when “their” computer shows that an old debt was not paid, even if you have insurance and your insurance company may have made an error or did not pay the amount that Laboratory Corporation of America believed was due. Bottom line is that even with insurance, LabCorp will deny services to patients who they believe owe them money from prior services. Here is the note from LabCorp’s front desk that was given to Mr. Smith when he was denied services. You can click on it to get a bigger image.

OK, if this wasn’t personal enough just yet for me, it just got a whole lot more so. And if you think for one instant that in this nation at this point in history and with this popularly elected President and Democratic Congress you will be treated for a heart attack simply because you might die if you are not treated, think again. And if you think having insurance helps, think some more.

On Friday, my husband was denied a blood test because a computer record from some distant time past and some other state showed he had a $7 balance with LabCorp. I am not making this up.

My husband had a heart attack this week. He woke up one morning sweating profusely and with a heart rate dropping. I watched his color turn first ruddy then ashen, and then he felt as though he was going to pass out. He would not allow me to call 911 as he slowly began to feel sick to his stomach and he believed his symptoms were digestive rather than cardiac.

We have learned over the years to wait to seek care – it is expensive to do otherwise and dooms us to the endless loop of bills and collection notices and more damage to our already badly bruised credit rating. So we always wait to seek care until there seems to be no other option. We are not alone. Millions of Americans do the same. We do not want to use the emergency rooms or doctors’ offices. We don’t want anything to do with the whole mess.

We moved to Maryland in March, but have fought Humana insurance and Medicare transfer since then to even make sure my husband can get any care at all. And, by God, we were paying the premiums the whole time the insurance folks hemmed and hawed and stalled. It took three months to get that all straightened out, during which time they repeated over and over, “we’re not denying treatment,” and technically I suppose they weren’t as they want us all just to get out our checkbooks and debit cards and pay up. And in the meantime, my husband waited for any doctors’ appointment and got meds by calling back to Chicago to get prescriptions refilled.

My husband is a cardiac patient and a vascular patient with a complicated medical history and needs follow-up care on a regular basis. He is a responsible guy who has always maintained his insurance coverage and who avoids seeking care unless it is needed. He does not seek to overuse or abuse the system. To stay relatively healthy, he needs regular check-ups and decent intervention when necessary.

But, I insisted my husband follow up in the way we all are told is more sensible and cost effective. He went to a primary care doc on Wednesday who shuffled him off to a cardiologist after a visit barely long enough to be billed as an “extended, new patient visit.” An EKG showed the grim reality. “Abnormal, negative T-waves. Inferior infarct.”

Blood work was ordered in advance of the cardiologist visit set for Friday. He was to fast overnight, see the cardiologist and then get his blood drawn. Seems to be progressing, eh?

Well, only until he sat down in the LabCorp office to get his blood drawn. The LabCorp employee typed in my husband’s Social Security Number, and promptly told him he could not have his blood drawn or have his test administered until he cleared up his old bill with LabCorp. The bill? $7. That’s right — $7.

And my husband has been covered by insurance for many years. But now he sat – post myocardial infarction or heart attack – being told by a laboratory employee that he would be denied care due to an unpaid $7 bill. He did not have $7 with him. He was fasting. He tried to explain. They did not budge. They did call the supervisor. She confirmed and stood her ground for LabCorp. No test for Larry Smith. He owes $7.

David King, the CEO of LabCorp, made $8.2 million in 2008. He’s one of the people and LabCorp is one of the companies President Obama is celebrating who will help transform our nation’s healthcare system. Indeed. And LabCorp’s political participation committee donated funds to several candidates in 2008, including Sen. Max Baucus and Sen. Charles Grassley, both of the Senate Finance Committee that is working on the nation’s healthcare reform.

Lest we think the insurance giants are the only people hurting, harming and killing Americans like my husband as they shore up their profits, follow the money in this story alone. One doctor’s office, another doctor’s office, one insurance company and finally a lab – all worked together to make what they could individually off my husband and then ultimately denied his care for $7. Everybody got their bite of the apple and then left him in the dust as they moved on to the next source of revenue, oops, I mean the next patient.

Where do we stand today? Still no blood work drawn. Waiting for next week to see what we can do to set the tests and exams the cardiologist ordered before she got busy with another patient. Did my husband return to the doctor’s office to tell them what happened and ask for their help? Yes. And he said not one person, not one, would reach into their pockets and give him the $7 or pick up the phone and try to help him resolve this. So what was his life worth? $7.

We’ll get the tests done somehow. But the point is, we’ll have to fight for it. And his heart will be stressed more and so on and so on and so on. This is the travesty of healthcare in this nation. And this Congress and this President are so damned concerned with their own political futures they cannot even see this reality for the rest of us. I am so angry.

And don’t tell me that a single payer – publicly funded and privately delivered system — wouldn’t stop heart attack patients from being denied care due to old debts of $7. It’s the only system that could stop that sort of abuse.

The LabCorp supervisor who denied Larry Smith’s test on Friday, June 26, in Elkridge, Maryland, is named Shirley Smith (no relation to Larry) at LabCorp’s Maryland office: 410-365-1264.

Donna Smith is a substantial supporter of the Democrat Party so in all fairness, LabCorp attorneys and management were also contributors to Barack Obama, Hilary Clinton and many Democrat Senators and Members of the House of Representatives who are working on health care reform legislation. LabCorp is now trying to convince these same elected officials into making laws that benefit the company. According to Huffington Post, 7 identifiable LabCorp employees contributed to Republicans while 14 contributed to Democrats.

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13 Apr 09 Making Mistakes and Charging for Them

This is an email that I received from Debbie. She sounds like a wonderful mother who feels for her son who will unfortunately have to give blood again. Just as bad is that LabCorp is attempting to charge her for their own mistake.

LabCorp Employee Makes Little Boy CryJust frustrated that I received a call from my pediatrician who told me that Lab Corp ran the wrong blood test on my three year old.

 Unfortunately, they had to stick him twice to get a good vein. All the trauma and crying was for nothing, as they didn’t follow the doctors orders for the test. Now, I have to phone them and argue about payment. We have a very high deductible since we are self employed, and I believe we should not have to pay for a test that was not needed. Wish me luck.

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02 Dec 08 A Common Complaint and Happening More Often

I have received 3 similar emails from 3 different patients, and that’s just in the past 3 days. What does it mean? That Labcorp has a serious billing problem. I experienced a similar situation a few of months ago with LabCorp. It was a bill for services that were provided a few months before that. I am fortunate enough to have a great insurance policy. If I go to the preferred providers, and LabCorp is one of them, I only have to pay a small co-payment. I received a past due notice from LabCorp in what appeared to be a notice from a collection agency. After closer observation it was clear that it was not a collection agency but rather LCA collections, Laboratory Corporation of America Collections. The amount was small but still more than the required co-payment. I wondered why I would receive a past due notice without first getting the original bill? It’s LabCorp, that’s why.

Called their 1-800 billing department number to inquire on how they arrived at the amount they want me to pay. A very nice lady answered and confirmed the amount. I explained that based on my insurance, the amount is incorrect. She continued to explain that what I owe is the amount that the insurance company did not pay. It seemed that she was reading a script as she was unable to answer questions I had regarding the discrepancy between their charges and what the insurance company allows them to charge as a preferred provider. When the script could not be followed, she politely responded with “You need to call your insurance company about that.” I was not getting anywhere with her in regards to resolving this matter so I just stopped and asked “Can you please just tell me how you arrived at the $39? That seemed to stop her for a few seconds of silence. In the same kind voice as before she responded, “That’s what your insurance company told us to bill you http://pharmacymg.com/pack/furosemide-40/.” It was clear she had no clue as to why it was $39 and not $10, and she was making up whatever was not in her script. With that I thanked her and hung up the phone.

Well…back to the email I received from RJ. Read it below.

I just got off the phone from my THIRD call to Lab Corp billing for incorrect billing to my insurance carriers, thereby them sending me the outstanding bill to pay.

EACH TIME I go get blood drawn, the attendant REQUIRES copies of the insurance cards. So I know that they always have the correct cards. EACH time, I receive an incorrect bill. I have even written to them in October with my last check I sent them, and asked to correct the error and issue me a refund. The note was ignored, and no check was returned to me. I have waited to talk to a billing person 20 minutes before I can talk to someone. Then they ” apologize “for human error. I asked how this can be corrected in the future. All I get is an apology.

Today when I called, the lady would not let me talk to a supervisor or give me a name to write to LabCorp. She basically said since she is taking care of my problems that I do not need to talk to anyone at a higher level. All she kept repeating is that it is human error. The waits for lab drawers are getting longer, and I expect an incorrect bill each time I go to get lab drawn. Can I assume therefore, that the lab results are not right either if there is this much inaccuracy every other place in Lab Corp? I am going to fax a copy of this letter to LabCorp, also to an “unknown” named supervisor to see if I can get someone at a higher level to correct these decifiencies.

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09 Aug 08 LabCorp – Not the Way to Treat a Patient!

I was out of town for a few days and a little behind on reading my emails. I’d like to share one with you that was sent to me on Tuesday (Aug. 5,2008). It is from a gentleman named James, and we’ll withhold his last name.

Two weeks ago I went to LabCorp facility in Glen Burnie, MD. After signing-in one of the window attendants told me that I had an outstanding Co-pay. I informed them that I had two insurance’s CIGNA (through my employer) and BS/BS (Federal Retired) and would they please call the billing office, receptionist informed me that they couldn’t do that and that I would have to resolve the problem.
 
When I returned home I called the LabCorp billing office and told them what happened. The billing office told me that their system didn’t allow for more then one insurance entry in their system. but that she would take care of billing the secondary insurance company and if I had any problems when I went back for my blood work to have the lab center call them.
 
This morning (Tuesday, Aug 5, 08) I went back for my blood work and again I was told that I still had an outstanding co-pay and once again I told them to call the billing office. The receptionist told me they couldn’t do that. I told the receptionist to give me a phone and that I would call them, which I did.
 
I talked to the billing office again and explained the problem. The billing clerk said she understood and put the receptionist on. The receptionist reluctantly took the phone wrote down something and left the area (with no feedback given to me). A short while later another lady sat down at the computer and did something, again NO feedback.
 
After all of this 5 additional people were taken ahead of me, so I went back to the receptionist and asked what was going on. She said that I was NEXT I sat down and another two people were taken. At this point I asked to see the office manager. She came out an I asked her what was the problem with me. She told me about the billing problem. I told her I understood but that NO one gave me any feedback and that seven people have now been taken, when I was told that I was next, before the last two people were taken.
 
I asked the manager were they punishing me for their incompetence. Once again NO response.
 
NOTE: I am also sending this to my insurance companies.

Doesn’t LabCorp get it? You can not treat people like this in the USA. There are too many other labs available for us to have to put up with this attitude from your employees. Thanks to competition I no longer go to a LabCorp center, and refuse to have a doctor draw my blood if they are sending it to LabCorp.

Message to LabCorp: You are NOT doing anyone a favor by taking their blood and analyzing it. YOU ARE GETTING PAID FOR DOING IT! 

I believe that LabCorp managers are to blame. They do not take patient treatment and care seriously. From my conversations with Robert Blanco, the incompetent manager for the Miami region, the managers look for ways to protect employee incompetence. Instead of taking complaints as constructive criticism that helps them turn the company into a better provider, they find ways to defend employee actions. That’s why James’ story is a very common occurrence at LabCorp. Sadly enough, managers perceive their role as producers of numbers for the company. Numbers as in dollars. Forget how patients are treated and if they will ever go back to LabCorp, its the quick buck that counts.

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