Andrew 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).
Tags: billing, federal government, Government Investigations, lab, labcorp, Labcorp Criminal, LabCorp Stock, labcorp unethical, labcorp whistle blowers, laboratory Corporation of America, laboratory test, lawsuits, medicaid, medicare, NYSE:LH
LabCorp 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.
LabCorp has been sued and is under Federal investigation for Medicaid and Medicare fraud. In addition, it’s under scrutiny by the U.S. Senate Finance Committee who is investigating Medicare and Medicaid fraud. Laboratory Corporation of America was ordered to hand over its financial records to the U.S. Senate.
A lawsuit was filed on behalf of the Federal government that claims LabCorp operated a “pull-through” scheme to force doctors covered by insurers to use LabCorp for all medical testing viagra uk buy. The suit claims LabCorp (NYSE: LH) offered illegal discounts to doctors in exchange for referring all their patients who need laboratory testing to the company. According to federal anti-kickback laws, it’s illegal for health care companies to directly or indirectly compensate other parties to encourage them to order any service paid for by the federal health care programs.
Under federal law, companies can’t charge or participate in the Medicare or Medicaid program if they violate federal laws. The suit claims LabCorp charged Medicaid and Medicare more than $1 billion, which is about 20% of the companies total income. If LabCorp is found guilty they will not be allowed to conduct lab tests on anyone covered by Medicaid and Medicare, which is a large portion of LabCorps testing income.
On other news, LabCorp secured a new credit line of $1 billion. What a coincidence.
Tags: billing, federal investigation, Government Investigations, health care, kickback, labcorp, Labcorp Criminal, labcorp unethical, Labcorp Wrongdoings, laboratory Corporation of America, medicaid, medicaid fraud, medicare
I 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.Here’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 we’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.
Tags: billing, complaints, General Labcorp Stories, LabCorp Billing Stories, LabCorp Complaints, LabCorp Employee Stories, LabCorp Employees, LabCorp Managers, labcorp whistle blowers, Labcorp Wrongdoings, Labcorp.com Billing
I 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.
Since 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
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:
- My Medicare card
- My insurance identification card
- My Mutual of Omaha pink physician sticker
- My TX driver’s license
She then informed me that two of the blood tests requested by my doctor:
- 80061 – LIPID PANEL
- 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:
- 80061 – LIPID PANEL
- 84443 –TSH
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.
- Copy of front and back of my Mutual of Omaha Insurance Identification Card.
- Pink Mutual of Omaha Physician Sticker
- Copy of your FORM CMS-R-131 clearing indication the declined procedures
- Copy of LabCorp Patient Service Center Request LCM Req # 50057XXXXXX listing the 2 test results submitted to my doctor.
Just last month, LabCorp reported that they made $131.4 Million dollars in profit for the latest quarter, on revenue of $1.19 Billion. That was a 17% increase in profits as compared to the same quarter last year. Obviously LabCorp stock (NYSE: LH) went up to a new yearly high and all the senior executives high-fived each other.
Well that was last month. Just a few days ago Labcorp went to the state and local governments in North Carolina for a handout of taxpayer money. LabCorp wants to consolidate its billing operations and if it selects Greensboro as the location of the new facility, it would receive nearly $900,000 in taxpayer money. That’s free money from the taxpayers that will never be repaid.
The Burlington-based company is reportedly considering moving its billing operations from 24 sites across the country to one location in Greensboro or in Danville, Virgina. On Thursday, Guilford County commissioners approved giving the company $248,791 of tax payers money. The city of Greensboro also is offering $373,000. North Carolina would grant Labcorp $275,000 of taxpayer money. That’s a total payoff of $896,791 of taxpayer’s money. The excuse the elected officials are using is North Carolina’s unemployment rate, which is up to 11% and above the national average. This is the ninth straight month the state’s unemployment rate has reached double digits. So what is the government doing handing out free money to a company that just made over $131 Million in the last three months?
So as I see it, a cash strapped state, county and city have decided to payoff LabCorp, a company that made over $131 Million in profits over the last three months, to move their billing operations to their region. It is obvious that LabCorp threatened to move the operation to Virginia in order to get the cash from the taxpayers of North Carolina. I would like to know how many of the elected officials involved in the decision have, or will receive political contributions from LabCorp? Who knows what LabCorp will ask for next? How about adding the following motto to the state’s seal “Property of LabCorp.”
Tags: billing, General Labcorp Stories, Government Investigations, labcorp centers, Labcorp Criminal, LabCorp Executives, LabCorp Jobs, LabCorp Stock, labcorp unethical, Labcorp Wrongdoings, Labcorp.com Billing
I 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 they 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.
You can contact Mr. John Hoevel by emailing him at firstname.lastname@example.org. 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.
Tags: billing, General Labcorp Stories, insurance, labcorp, LabCorp Billing Stories, LabCorp Complaints, labcorp unethical, labcorp whistle blowers, Labcorp Wrongdoings, Labcorp.com Billing, laboratory Corporation of America, lawsuits, LCA Collections
Financial analysts in Wall Street have downgraded LabCorp (LH on the New York Stock Exchange), citing a slow down of testing volume growth and lower prices for their services. The analysts also expect a cut in Medicare payment rates and potentially weaker prices from health insurers. In addition, health care reform could lead to further rate cuts and eliminate the obscene profits that LabCorp makes on some of their niche lab tests.
Will the N1H1 Swine Flu help offset these factors? The answer is a flat out no. LabCorp won’t get much of a boost from a swine flu outbreak because flu testing is only a small part of its business.
Even though LabCorp is buying back their own shares, it may not be enough to maintain the share prices at their current levels. Laboratory Corp. of America announced that they will buy back up to $250 million of common stock under a repurchase plan approved by its directors. LabCorp purchased a total of $500 million worth of shares under its previous stock buy-back plan. About $95 million of those repurchases have taken place since the end of June.
With employee dissatisfaction, pending lawsuits and ongoing management problems, it looks like shares of Laboratory Corporation of America are heading down quickly. Some of the company’s insiders sold the shares ahead of the downgrades.
On 09/08/09 LANE WENDY E, a Director, sold 4,116 shares for $68.70 a share.
On 09/02/09 LANE WENDY E, sold 2,604 shares at $68.78 a share.
On 08/17/09 HARDISON DONALD M, the company’s Chief Operating Officer, sold 854 shares at $69.50 per share.
According to Yahoo Finance, during the past 6 months there have been no insider purchases and 5 insider sales. A total of 12,481 shares have been sold by insiders and a net 12,258,100 shares have been sold by institutions, after taking into account purchases by institutions. It seems that some of those who really know what is going on are selling.
Many 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.
Tags: Bad Service Centers, billing, health care reform, insurance, LabCorp Billing Stories, LabCorp Employees, labcorp general, LabCorp Health Care, labcorp unethical, Labcorp.com Billing, laboratory Corporation of America
I have been reading some of the comments posted by LabCorp employees in this blog. It’s interesting how many of them blame everyone else but themselves for the poor service that patients get at LabCorp centers. According to the employees posting, the doctor, the insurance company and even the patient themselves are at fault. I would have to agree with them. Everyone else but you is at fault for bad health care.
The doctor, for sending the patient to the LabCorp center in order to get a blood test. The insurance company, for going with the lowest bidder and allowing LabCorp into their network of providers. The patient, for allowing their doctor and insurance company to send them to LabCorp for blood tests. They are all at fault that Labcorp has deteriorated as a service provider. It’s their fault that the test results can’t be trusted. It’s their fault that centers close early and that employees treat the patients with such disrespect.
It’s not the fault of the mid-level manager that strives to make a quick buck so that the upper manager commends them. It’s not the Patient Services supervisor who has not idea of what “real” patient services means. It’s not the service center receptionist who treats patients as though they are doing them a favor by taking their blood. It’s not the laboratory personnel that quickly runs blood tests through the system so that they can meet their daily quota, disregarding the quality standards that insure the accuracy of the tests.
Employees who were sent here to defend the company, my recommendation to you is that you have all your fellow employees look in the mirror to see who is really at fault for bad health care. My recommendation to the doctors, insurance companies and patients that are causing all these problems. Stop sending, paying or going to LabCorp for tests. That should resolve all the problems.