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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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10 Jul 11 LabCorp and Supervisor Charged With Discrimination

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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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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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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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04 Jun 10 LabCorp Appointments Complaint

LabCorp AppointmentsWhat good are LabCorp appointments? Amanda sent me an email with her experience at LabCorp. Even though she made an appointment and brought all the proper documentation, including a prescription from her doctor, she was unable to take her required tests.

The “chaotic” daily operation of a LabCorp center and the “entitlement” philosophy of certain LabCorp employees makes you not want to ever set foot in their service centers again.

 Here’s Amanda’s unfortunate experience.

LabCorp Appointment Patient…I completely and utterly baffled by the chaotic nature that is LabCorp’s daily operations. 

1st visit: On the first visit, I arrived around 3:30 for a blood test and H Pylori breath test, only to be questioned with regards to the Doctor’s prescription as to whether or not I should have fasted. I called the doctor to confirm, and staff at LabCorp still insisted the doctor was wrong. Once they agreed to the blood test, they informed me it was too late to give me the solution for the H Pylori breath test, even though they knew I would be waiting 45 minutes for a phlebotomy technician.  I was frustrated that after having missed 3 hours of work, I was told I would need to return. 

Poor Service Center Employee AttitudeSecond visit: I went ahead and scheduled the H Pylori test for the following Friday, confirmed scheduled appointment online, and left work hours early yet again to make this appointment. As soon as I arrived, the staff behind the desk told me they did not have the H Pylori test kits and that I should have called. I immediately responded that if that lab was not equipped with the supplies necessary to fill all prescriptions, then they should have referred to their appointment list and called me. The lady responded that it was my fault, even after I told her that I made the appointment specifically for this test. She said she would NOT call me when they received the test kits.  She also went on to say that if she had to call me then they would have to call 15 to 20 people who want the same test. I calmly told her that if they were putting 15 to 20 people in a position to miss hours of work only to be turned away at the door because their LabCorp office is ill-equipped to handle the tests that it advertises if offers at any given time, then yes, the right thing to do is to contact people. I never received an apology for inconveniencing me, nor did she admit their fault. The lady behind the desk then threw a card at me and said to call next time (again, even though I had gone through the appointment process as a courtesy to them in the first place).

Why does LabCorp website collect information if that information is not dispersed to people who need to know it? Why are they collecting information that ultimately is not being used to better the day-to-day operations of the offices? Finally, why are these labs not equipped with the tools necessary to administer every test it is supposed to be capable of administering at all times? For instance, the lady behind the desk at my second visit mentioned that they had not had the H Pyblori kits all week.

Labcorp Treats Patients Like Cattle

Next Patient!

In a world with overnight shipping, no lab should be without test kits ever, let alone a full week.

If this were any other business, one not funded by managed health care providers that guarantee a high volume of revenue to LabCorp, I would be able to request my money back, speak to a manager, or be compensated in some way. Instead, we as patients are taken advantage of and treated like cattle and told to come back…because let’s face it, we have no other choice.

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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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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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