LabCorp Sucks
msgbartop
Laboratory Corporation of America – Tell Your Story and File a Complaint
msgbarbottom
Sponsored links

27 Jun 10 LabCorp Mixes Up Patient Samples

Sponsored links

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.

Tags: , , , , , , , , , ,

14 May 10 Alternatives to LabCorp

Sponsored links

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.”

Tags: , , , , , , , , , ,

06 May 10 LabCorp Baltimore

Janice from Baltimore sent me an email about her experiences at LabCorp. No complaints, just sympathy for all who have had problems with other LabCorp locations.

LabCorp BaltimoreFortunately, I have not had your extreme problems with LabCorp in Baltimore. They are my health insurance carrier’s choice, over which I have no control. I’ve read your story, and it is pitiful that LabCorp gets away with that. I just wanted to point out that you are a “glutton” for punishment. Gluten is something Alton Brown talks about frequently on “Good Eats” with regard to baking. Sorry you’ve had such a miserable time with LabCorp, and glad your blood tests finally came back with good news. Carry on!

Tags: , , , , ,

04 Jan 10 LabCorp Test Mistakes HTLV Virus

LabCorp MistakesI received this email from Joan in New York who was misdiagnosed as having the HTLV virus by LabCorp. LabCorp mistakes, like this one, cause thousands of dollars in additional tests and devastate the lives of those misdiagnosed. Sadly, LabCorp may have mixed her blood samples with someone elses or could have had a bad reading because of tired, overworked Laboratory technicians. We’ll never know why Laboratory Corporation of America made this mistake, but I can guarantee you that it’s not the first nor will it be the last.

Here’s what Joan had to say:

Labcorp original blood work returned a positive result for HTLV, Human T-Cell Leukemia Virus.  If you can imagine, I was devastated.  The last two weeks have been awful. This virus is much like HIV;  it’s sexually transmitted, and transmitted through needle sharing and blood transfusions. My doctor also communicated there was no cure. 

I could not imagine where I would have contracted such a disease, but I have been feeling weak and tired, and assumed it was true.   My family and I have been devastated.

My doctor does not trust Labcorp, but since Labcorp is the only approved lab with United Health Care, (shame on United Health Care) he ordered a second test.  In the meantime, he has sent me to numerous other MRI appointments and the like looking for tumors, all at the cost of my insurance company.  Last night, I got the results and the second test was negative for HTLV.  I am grateful that I don’t have HTLV, [if I can trust their second test]; but I wonder if there is someone else out there who does… and does not know. I question Labcorp’s  laboratory process and wonder if they got the blood mixed up otc viagra substitutes. Is it possible that there is a person out there who is positive for HTLV and is unknowingly spreading this death sentence virus to others?  Labcorp is incompetent.

I agree with you… Labcorp sucks!

Joan

New York, NY

HTLV Virus ProgressionHere’s information about this dreadful disease and how devastating it is. Human T-lymphotropic virus type 1 (HTLV-I) causes adult T-cell leukemia in about 2.5% of those persons infected with the virus. The time between acquiring the infection with HTLV-1 and developing disease is thought to be 30-50 years. HTLV-1 also can cause a neurological disease called HTLV-1-associated myelopathy/tropical spastic paraparesis in about 5% of those infected. This is an illness that affects the spinal cord and white matter of the central nervous system. Manifestations include difficulty walking and weakness and stiffness of the lower extremities more than the upper extremities. Bowel and bladder control may be lost. A number of other disorders have been associated with HTLV-1 including inflammation of the joints or eyes. HTLV-I is endemic in Japan, the Caribbean, New Guinea and parts of Central Africa. Prevalence is highest in southwest Japan. It is not common in the United States.

Human T-lymphotropic virus type 2 (HTLV-II) may cause neurodegenerative disease such as myelopathy, and it may be associated with hematological malignancies but the association between the virus and these diseases is weak. The virus is endemic in Native Americans in South, Central, and North America.

Enzyme immunoassay screening of serum, with confirmation by type specific western blot, immunofluorescent assay or polymerase chain reaction can be used to determine carrier status and help in confirmation of either HTLV-I or HTLV-II disease. Specific pathological conditions must be present for disease diagnosis.

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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: , , , , , , , , , ,

23 Oct 08 LabCorp Complaint

I received this complaint that was also submitted to Labcorp through the patient feedback section of their web site. Complaints like this one should be immediately followed up by LabCorp managers. Whether they are followed up or not, now that’s a different story. LabCorp’s regional managers tend to find secondary excuses for the complaints. In other words, they find ways to blame the patient instead of the LabCorp employees who are poorly trained or worst yet, poorly supervised. That seems to be the universal problem in almost all LabCorp regions.

I recommended to Nancy that she contact United Health Care and notify them about the incident with her child. Hopefully that will persuade United Health Care to select better quality lab service providers. Here’s Nancy’s complaint:

I had to take my 11 year son to Labcorp yesterday in Deland Florida and we had a HORRIBLE EXPERIENCE. First the tech gave him something to squeeze, tied off one arm, poked and prodded with her finger, untied it, tied off the other arm and did the same. Took the tourniquet off and called in a co-worker to “hold his arm, he wasn’t co-operating.” I said to her, “He’s holding perfecting still, what do you mean he’s not cooperating?” She said “He’s not squeezing hard enough”. She then stuck him with the LabCorp in Deland, Florida that complaint was filed against.needle, nothing came into the vacutainer tube, she then proceeded to stick it in DEEPER and wiggle it around……I told her take it out, she had one shot, and by this time he was crying and I hadn’t seen him cry in years….She then says, “Well do you see how thick his arms are for a kid?” “Go take him to the hospital” and as she took the tourniquet and supplies away I saw that it was a glass blood tube that she was having him squeeze…he was afraid he’d break it……I still have to get his blood work done but I’m checking other labs for cost because my United Health care pays for Labcorp only and I’d rather pay out of pocket than go to Labcorp again. I was going to go to another site but after reading all the complaints online it seems they are all as equally unprofessional, rude and inadequately trained.

Here’s the email I sent her:

Nancy:

I posted your incident on the labcorpsucks.com website, and withheld your name. How sad that they would do that to a child. I highly recommend that you contact United Health Care and let them know of how your son was treated. They might even authorize you to go to another lab or have the blood drawn at a doctor’s office. Having unqualified or poorly trained personnel at a lab service center is the fault of management. I have noticed that there are many complaints about management in your region. Please feel free to refer United Health Care supervisors to see how many complaints are posted on labcorpsucks.com. Hopefully that will move them to stop using LabCorp and select a lab services provider that will provide higher quality health care services for their insured. I will also forward your incident to Florida’s AHCA (Agency for Health Care Administration). I highly recommend that you call Florida’s AHCA and file a complaint with them as well. Here’s the info on how to file a complaint in Florida:

Florida Health Care Facility Complaints

Consumer Complaint, Publication and Information Call Center

The agency provides a toll-free telephone system for consumers to call in order to file complaints, receive publications, information and referral numbers. This system can be accessed by calling the number below between the hours of 8:00 A.M. and 6:00 P.M. Eastern Time Monday through Friday. Complaints about health care facilities are taken during regular business hours, 8:00 A.M. to 5:00 P.M., Eastern Standard Time (EST).

(888) 419-3456

For registering your complaints, requesting publications or requesting information, use the following options:

Press Option 1

Available Monday – Friday, 8:00 A.M. to 5:00 P.M., EST. To file a complaint about a health care facility. The call center can also refer you for information on facilities.

Good luck.

Tags: , , , ,

09 Oct 08 U.S. says LabCorp Ovarian Cancer Test Sales are Illegal

The United States Food and Drug Administration issued a letter to LabCorp warning them that they are in violation of the law. LabCorp doing illegal things brings up their checkered past, when they were charged with fraud in the LabScam investigation.

The FDA warning letter and possible criminal and civil action against LabCorp could be the beginning of the end for Laboratory Corporation of America. I say this because as one government agency moves against them, there are possibly other government agencies that might step up to further investigate other allegations against the company. It’s about time that this regulatory oversight process start. For too long LabCorp has focused on the buck as opposed to the law and the required quality standards. In my own opinion, it is a company that is out of control.

Here’s the FDA story:

WASHINGTON, Oct 8 (Reuters) – Laboratory Corp of America (LH.N: Quote, Profile, Research, Stock Buzz) is violating the law by selling an ovarian cancer screening test without regulatory approval, U.S. health officials said on Wednesday.

The OvaSure test does not fall in a category that can be sold without prior clearance from the agency, the Food and Drug Administration said.

“Because you do not have marketing clearance or approval from the FDA, marketing OvaSure is in violation of the law,” the agency said in a letter dated Sept. 29.

The agency told the company to “take prompt action to correct these violations.”

LabCorp spokesman Eric Lindblom said the company was “disappointed” by the letter.

“We are currently in discussions with the FDA over the next steps and of course we share the FDA’s determination to assure patients are protected,” he said.

The company started selling the blood test in June, saying it could detect early-stage ovarian cancer in high-risk women.

The FDA letter was posted on the FDA website. You can read the full letter by clicking here.

LabCorp shares (NYSE: LH) fell nearly 1.8 percent today to close at $60.63 on the New York Stock Exchange.

Tags: , , , , ,

15 Sep 08 United Health Care Has a Lot to Learn

I thought that United Health Care wore a white hat, but I guess I was wrong and that they only canceled the contract with LabCorp in the South Florida region. Unfortunately it does not look like they canceled their contracts in other parts of the USA. United Health Care will learn, but only after they continue to lose patients and HMO members. Here’s an email I received from another “former” Labcorp patient.

Hi,

I see that you have United Healhcare on your “good guys” list.   I’m not sure if you are aware, but as far as Verizon Business for United Healthcare (40,000+ employees) is concerned, Lab Corp is the only lab we are allowed to go to that is covered.  I am not sure if other companies that use United are allowed to use other labs, but we got a letter in March of ’08 that they were dropping Quest in favor of LabCorp.

Here is a letter I sent to HR this morning:

I would like to go on record to state my displeasure with Verizon/United Healthcare using LabCorp as the new lab of choice for blood work.   LabCorp is a cheap, cut rate operation staffed by nothing but a mean, discourteous and unprofessional staff.   I have had to use LabCorp three times this year and each time has been an unpleasant experience.  LabCorp establishments are understaffed and both of the doctors that send me there complain that the results take over a week to get, as opposed to 24 hours with Quest Diagnostics.  They state that they often need to call LabCorp to request the results, while patients who use Quest will have a fax with the results delivered the next business day.

Any money that Verizon Business/United Healthcare is saving by switching from Quest to LabCorp is certainly not worth the anguish that it is putting employees and customers through by forcing them to go there instead of Quest.

Thanks for your site.  I Googled “labcorp sucks” and was pleased to find your site!

NAME WITHHELD

Tags: , , ,

03 Sep 08 LabCorp in Trouble with the U.S. FDA – Their testing “may harm the public health”

This is a recent article about LabCorp and their practices. The United States Food and Drug Administration believes that LabCorp’s testing “…may harm the public health.” Shame on you LabCorp for putting money before patient’s health.

The US Food and Drug Administration is looking more closely at an ovarian cancer test from Laboratory Corporation of America after deciding that the existing data did not support the test’s commercial use.

 
The FDA Office of In Vitro Device Evaluation and Safety has asked Labcorp to discuss with the agency the utility of its OvaSure Yale test, after it learned that the performance characteristics of the test were based on research that is not representative of the intended pool of patients.
 
In a letter to Labcorp dated August 7, OIVD Director Steve Gutman wrote that the scientific community would not view the study as sufficient to establish performance characteristics for high-risk women who may have ovarian cancer.
 
“Based on our review of your promotional materials and the research,” Gutman wrote, “… we believe you are offering a high risk test that has not received adequate clinical validation, and may harm the public health.” Gutman told Labcorp that OIVD would like to talk to the company about offering the test, and any other strategies the company may have for validating the test.

Tags: , , , , , , ,

27 Apr 08 LabCorp for Doctors. Tell Your Story

This section is for doctors and physician assistants that have had issues with LabCorp. Everyone wants to know what happened.

Tags: , , ,