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30 Aug 15 Faulty LabCorp Test Results End Up in a $50 Million Verdict Against LabCorp

LabCorp and a Washington state medical center must pay $50 million to a Washington couple who won the jury judgment in 2013 after their son was born with birth defects, a Washington state appellate court ruled this week. The ruling was unanimous, The Seattle Post-Intelligencer reported.

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Attorneys for Rhea and Brock Wuth successfully argued in 2013 that the Wuths had asked for a test that would detect a rare genetic disorder while Rhea Wuth was pregnant with their son, Oliver.

The test was administered by Valley Medical Center and produced by LabCorp. The couple argued that when it submitted the test to Dynacare Laboratories, a subsidiary of Laboratory Corporation of America (LabCorp), the doctor who submitted the results did not include documentation of family history or genetic information.

LabCorp's Palatial Headquarters

       LabCorp’s Palatial Headquarters in Burlington, NC

The couple argued that information that Brock Wuth had a chromosomal abnormality, which had a 50 percent chance of being passed to his offspring, was not made available to Dynacare, which did not ask for it but should have.

The hospital and LabCorp have been ordered to split $50 million payment, some of which will be used to provide lifetime care for Oliver.

Oliver Wuth was born July 12, 2008. The couple sued in 2010.

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01 Aug 13 LabCorp Computer with Personal Patient Information is Stolen

LabCorp Computer Stolen

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LabCorp notified the Maryland Attorney General’s Office that a computer had been stolen and that there was a security breach of patient information. The computer was stolen from one of its facilities in North Carolina and it contained patient names, dates of birth, and Medicare subscriber numbers.

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LabCorp’s notification states that they notified law enforcement, but they failed to state when the theft actually occurred. And although they disclosed that 115 Maryland residents had data on the computer, they do not report the total amount of how many patients’ personal information was on the stolen computer.

Under the Federal HIPAA (Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996) laws, there is the Privacy Rule, a Federal law which gives patients the rights over their health information and sets limits on who can look at and receive such information. The Privacy Rule applies to all forms of protected health information, whether electronic, written, or oral.

The information protected is:

  • Information your doctors, nurses, and other health care providers put in your medical record
  • Conversations your doctor has about your care or treatment with nurses and others
  • Information about you in your health insurer’s computer system
  • Billing information about you at your clinic
  • Most other health information about you.

In this case, LabCorp failed to maintain your information properly protected and those who stole the computer from the LabCorp center are able to look at it, pass it on to others and even post it on the internet. To see if  your information was on that computer, call the main LabCorp Headquarters by contacting them through email at privacyofficer@labcorp.com, calling LabCorp at (877) 234-4722 / (877-23-HIPAA) and asking for the LabCorp HIPAA Privacy Officer, or by sending a written request to: HIPAA Privacy Officer, LabCorp, 531 South Spring Street, Burlington, NC 27215.

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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.

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.

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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30 Jan 11 LabCorp Appointments Don’t Matter

Labcorp Appointments OnlineThe purpose of a LabCorp appointment is so that you do not have to wait too long when you go to the LabCorp Service Center for clinical lab services. LabCorp used to not take appointments and after Quest successfully implemented the appointment program, LabCorp followed suit and offers appointments through their LabCorp.com website.

I recently received an email from Brian who claims that LabCorp appointments don’t seem to matter to LabCorp service center employees. Here’s his LabCorp appointment story:

I had scheduled and kept an appointment Jan 22 , 2011 at the 2012 A Emmorton Rd site for an H.Pylori Breath test. When I got to the site they were unable to administer the test. The receptionist said they don’t give the test, the tech said they were out of the kits.
 
They told me there is no communication between the online appointment schedule program and the site. If this is true what is the point of using your scheduler. I was very disappointed by the receptionist . She told me I should have called to make sure they had the kit, that is an unreasonable assumption. She offered no assistance on contacting another labcorp site to see who had a kit.
 
I had to take the list she gave me, sit outside in the freezing cold weather and call several sites till I found the site in Dundalk that had a kit. Then I had to drive 25 miles to go take the test, this while fasting. This is the worst customer service I have ever seen in a lab. I plan to urge my employer to remove labcorp from the offerings and replace.

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23 Nov 10 LabCorp Test Results

Labcorp Test ResultsLabCorp test results should show that my PSA level is dropping…..if they are accurate. I went to my doctor’s office today. His assistant drew blood and I provided a urine sample. Last time the urine specimens were lost by LabCorp, so I want to see what happens to them this time. I say specimens because I provided two different urine samples and BOTH were lost by LabCorp.

LabCorp Test Results ErrorsAfter my doctor’s visit last time I waited for over 10 days to get LabCorp test results. After the extensive wait, no results were available. The doctor couldn’t figure out what happened to the urine samples after LabCorp took them. His office called LabCorp but no one could find them or provide an answer as to why there were no test results. They did however provide the results for the blood test.

If you have 3 specimens and you only provide test results for one of them, you’re only 33.3% reliable. That’s way too low for a health care related test that is used by a doctor to determine the next course of action.

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05 Nov 10 LabCorp Urine Test

Labcorp Urine Drug TestI received a very disturbing email from a lady who was sent to LabCorp for a urine test. This is a fairly simple process regulated by federal guidelines as it can cause the loss of employment if not properly administered. In this case it never got to that point. She complains that after sitting in the waiting room for over one and a half hours, she was asked to leave without being able to provide her urine sample.

Customer service is an important part of every business. When you have a customer waiting inside a facility and he or she has been in a facility for an extended period of time, it is common courtesy to provide the service before closing. In this case, they just chased all the customers out. It is without a doubt one of the worst violations of customer service principles that I have seen. I’m fairly confident that even poorly trained LabCorp managers would object to the actions of their employees in this case. If they do something about it, now that’s a different story. Here’s the email I received:

LabCorp Urine TestI was sent there (Labcorp) by an employer for a urine test. I sat there for over 1 1/2 hours (well before 4p.m). The woman came out and announces “all of you here for “P-Test” have to return on Monday, we are not doing anymore today.” I told her look,I have to have this done today in order to start work…her reply was that’s not our problem….WTF…

I have all of my certifications for phlebotomy ……Those employees are rude,hateful and just out right nasty. They are the laziest people I have ever seen.

Thanks,

F.Kim

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24 Oct 10 Former LabCorp Phlebotomist Speaks Out

In reference to our previous post “LabCorp Locations in Northern California“, a former LabCorp employee sent me an email that explains part of the problems at the LabCorp Patient Service  Centers:

LabCorp PhlebotomistNow I just wanted to say it is true that a location with low volume of patients only require one PST (Patient Service Tech), but what does low volume mean?  40-60 patients?

While being at LabCorp for a short time, I was told that one location received high volume (~300 patients) which required 6 PSTs.  Now I worked at a hospital before and we each phlebotomist draws around 35-40 patients a day (about 300-400 patients a day)  so does that mean 40-60 patients at a LabCorp PSC equals low volume?  

Somehow, I think LabCorp PSTs forget that at a hospital outpatient blood draw room, there is a receptionist that processes all the requisitions, prints out labels, copies, fax, and handles inquiries.  The phlebotomists at a hospital draw blood [and then maybe process specimens and paperwork on their next rotation].  LabCorp PSTs on the other hand have to also do the receptionist side of the work during their 8 hour shift.  Having one PST at a “low volume” location is definitely understaffed when you think about the paperwork and LCM entries they have to also make just so that patients don’t wait over 15 minutes.

And one more thing. There are a lot of grumpy PSTs that’s been at LabCorp and say they love it there. Little do you know they put on a smiley face when dealing with patients (hence why patients love them) and when patients are gone, they complain and talk crap Proud Phlebotomist Leaves LabCorp Jobabout them.  Why do they love LabCorp?  Because there’s no supervisor or someone higher up on-site to watch mistakes going on.  You can practically never ever wash your hands or wear gloves, stick a patient more than the allowed 2 times, and do manipulate the time clock system and get away with it.  Me?  I can’t stand this sort of unprofessionalism hence why I left quick-fast.

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06 Sep 10 LabCorp’s False Positive HIV Mistake of Egg Donor

LabCorp’s false positive HIV mistake will have long-lasting impact on Jim’s life. Here’s the email he sent me:

LabCorp HIV Test Mistake Causes Loss of Egg DonorMy wife and I cannot not have children on our own. That was devastating when we found out and it changed the course of our lives. Having babies is free right? Should be easy, right? Or so I thought.

Now, we were searching for solutions. Regardless of the sad news of us not able to conceive, we decided on egg donation. The reason why is so that my wife and I can experience the beauty of the birth experience. We also wanted to experience the joy of watching as a baby emerge from her womb, crying for protection, then quieting down when being cradled in my arms.

None of that would happen now. We used the services of Dr. Aykut Bayrak at the Pacific Reproductive Center in Glendale, Ca.  When getting ready forEgg Donor Denied Because Labcorp HIV Test Error IVF the donor must go through a series of blood test, one of them is HIV.

We had selected our donor from a website. I wanted my wife to select someone who looked just like her. We found a beautiful young lady named Amber, who looked like my wife when she in her 20’s. We thought we could not lose with Amber because she was an experienced donor, whose contributions resulted in several infants. We were excited and confident.

Then Labcorb came into the picture. When Amber’s blood test was given to Lab Corp for HIV testing the result came back Egg Donor Fertilization‘positive’. At first we were shocked!  With a result of being HIV resulted her being automatically canceled as our donor. So what is the real problem here. SHE WAS NOT HIV POSITIVE! When she re-took the test it showed that she was HIV negative. We were relieved for Amber, but the Lab Corp result cost us a couple thousand of dollars for Amber’s tests, medicine, and care during this process. All for naught. Because of Federal rules that any donor who tests positive for HIV cannot donate their eggs, even if she test HIV negative later.

So we were forced to search for another donor. We found one whose eggs eventually failed to produce. Amber was the perfect donor since she was experienced and had proven results. The donor was someone not experienced. With the second donor we ‘ordered’ the Dr. Bayrak not to use Lab Corp. If he refused, we would have fired him on the spot and simply found another fertility clinic to work with. He complied and another lab was used.

The Lab Corp result may not have directly resulted in us not having children (so far), but three things for sure.

(1) We lost a perfectly good donor in Amber,

(2) We had to financially start over with the same test, medicine, and care for the new donor,

(3) It crushed our spirit.

I will be sure to request any lab professional I deal with, from my doctor or any social worker, that if Lab Corp is involved in their testing, we will simply walk away.

Jim

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27 Jun 10 LabCorp Mixes Up Patient Samples

LabCorp Mistakes Saliva SamplesLabCorp was blamed by genetic testing company 23andMe of mixing up samples of as many as 96 patients. According to 23andMe in a post on their community board, as a result of LabCorp mixing up patient saliva samples, patients “may have received and viewed data that was not their own”. They further posted that “Upon learning of the mix-ups, we immediately identified all customers potentially affected, notified them of the problem, and removed the data from their accounts.”

LabCorp “is now concurrently conducting an investigation and re-processing the samples of the affected customers,” 23andMe told its customers. As a result, 23andMe is “deliberating” …on… “completely automating the sample analysis, and implementing further checks of the data before it gets loaded into customer accounts.” Reading between the lines, it appears that the company no longer has faith in LabCorp’s test results. Based on my personal experiences and that of those posting on this site, LabCorp always claims to be investigating the matter when something goes wrong. I have yet to see something come out of any of their investigations and wonder if they’ll actually do something about it this time.

23andMe LabCorp Mistake Problem23andMe is a retail DNA testing service provider that is partially owned by Internet giant Google. They provide the patient a test kit. The patient then collects their own saliva samples and the company sends it to LabCorp for DNA testing. LabCorp provides the results to 23andMe who then provides the results to the patient through their website. They claim that they do not provide medical advice to their patients. 23andMe has recently and suddenly become a target of an investigation by Congress.  As a result, the company announced that it will soon begin providing genetic counseling to new and existing customers.

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