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

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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.

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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10 Jul 11 LabCorp and Supervisor Charged With Discrimination

Discrimination at LabCorpLabCorp is being sued for allegedly violating the civil rights of an employee who complained about a supervisor’s racial remarks.

James Litomisky filed suit against Laboratory Corp. of America on June 27 in federal court of New Orleans. In the lawsuit, Litomisky argues he was terminated from his employment with LabCorp in retaliation for his objecting to, opposing, and refusing to cooperate with LabCorp’s discrimination against its employees with respect to the terms and conditions of their employment on the basis of their race.

Specifically, Litomisky alleges his supervisor made racist remarks regarding African American LabCorp employees. He objected to this language and complained to the human resource department. He was told the employees who were the butt of the racial comments must file complaints in writing on the proper forms for any action to be taken.

Less than a month later, he was placed on a performance improvement plan, allegedly in retaliation for his complaints about the discriminatory behavior. Litomisky also argues that his supervisor directed him to falsify quarterly performance management reviews of two African-American employees so that his supervisor could terminate them. Initially, he complied with the directive, but the next day he informed human resources of the incident and corrected the reviews. He was terminated from his position in October 2010, the lawsuit says.

The defendant is accused of violating the Louisiana Human Rights Act and the Louisiana Whistleblower Act. The plaintiff is seeking damages for back pay, reinstatement or in lieu of reinstatement, front pay, compensatory damages including medical expenses, pecuniary damages, damages for emotional distress, lost wages and benefits, punitive damages and attorney’s fees.

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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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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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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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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.

 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.

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

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25 Apr 10 Your Blood Test Results at LabCorp

Your blood test results belong to you under federal law. I received an email from Mike about his daughter and their problems with getting copies of blood test results from LabCorp. You can read it below.

Feel free to post this complaint about Labcorp on your website:

My daughter had blood work done that was ordered by her doctor in the summer of 2009.  Early 2010, she has been referred to a specialist who wanted all of her previous records including blood test results.  I didn’t have any problem obtaining results from all other tests performed by the hospital.  The doctor that originally ordered the blood tests has retired and left a contact for medical records requests.  I didn’t have any success with the referred place so I contacted LabCorp directly and they told me that by law, they could not give me or my daughter the lab results.  They told me that only the doctor that ordered the tests could access the results.

I paid for these tests in full.  These are my records, not the doctors.  I walked right in the hospital and got all the other results with no problems.  The hospital told me that there is no law preventing a person from obtaining their own medical records.  I will never voluntarily use LabCorp again.  I recommend that if your doctor takes blood for tests, ask them what lab they use.  If they use LabCorp, ask them if there is another option.  If they write a prescription for tests, take prescription to your local hospital to get the lab work done.  Be sure to check to see if the hospital is on your insurance’s network.

Mike F from Amarillo, TX

Labcorp Blood Test Results and the Hipaa Law If you’ve had blood tests and the results are available, you can request a copy of the results. All you have to do is ask for it. It’s your right to get copies of the blood test results from the doctor, LabCorp or medical facility who administered the blood test. The federal law that allows you to ask for and receive copies of your health records is the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act, also known as HIPAA. After you request copies of your blood test results, the law states that the medical facility has 30 days to give them to you. Labs may ask you to sign a permission form before releasing them but as I understand HIPAA, they have to provide it to you.

In Mike’s daughter’s case, LabCorp failed to provide the records and claimed that the law prohibited them from providing copies of the lab test results. If anyone knows what law they are referring to, please let us know by posting a comment to this post. I spoke to various lawyers about this issue and they all told me the same thing, “Your lab test results are medical records that belong to you under HIPAA.” There are laws that require medical consultation in reference to certain test results but in Mike’s daughter’s case, the results requested were old records that had already been provided to the doctor. A word of advise to Mike is that you contact the Medical Board in your state about the custodian of the records for your retired doctor. They will make sure that you get the records that the doctor turned over to them. You should also tell them about  LabCorp’s refusal to provide you the records. I’m sure that there is a state licensing agency that wants to know all about it.

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31 Mar 10 Urine Tests at LabCorp Suck

Mike sent me an email with his LabCorp complaint and even included pictures. He went to LabCorp for tests, and one of them required him to provide urine samples. He had the urine tests but as you’ll read below, it was somewhat disgusting. After a long wait his doctor finally received the results from LabCorp and gave him an appointment for tomorrow. Hope the results are favorable for him. Here’s his email

 I went to Labcorp for routine medical tests today at 1217 East Ave, Sarasota.   When I arrived there were several elderly patients arguing with confrontational Labcorp employees that they had provided urine samples while the staff insisted that they had not. One elderly man stated that he witnessed his sample being stolen. 

LabCorp Urine Test - Bathroom FloorWhen my turn came, my blood was drawn and I was handed a cup and a plastic lid that looked like a paper coffee cup. It had my name written on it with pen, no number.  I was told to go into a bathroom. The bathroom was filthy and there were numerous puddles and spots of urine on the floor, the counters, the sinks. LabCorp Urine Test - Bathroom Sink

There were also several rings of urine left by previous cups on the counter. It was apparent that the urine was from numerous persons.   I was not given an alcohol wipe or instructed to wipe my hands. The woman scolded me for handing her the cup and told me to leave it on the dirty counter. I told her the bathroom was filthy and she said someone cleans it later. LabCorp Urine Test - Bathroom Sink Piss Rings

The employees there were morbidly obese, confrontational, rude, and appeared to have a limited intellect.   I am 50 years old and have utilized the health system in several states, Mexico, Central America and South America. I have never witnessed such a bizarre situation and unsanitary conditions in a health care facility.  This facility is below third world standards and I do not feel comfortable with the integrity of any results.   Mike

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