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 (Laboratory Croporation of America) shares of stock fell more than 2% on Tuesday, March 23rd after a Deutsche Bank analyst downgraded the company’s stock (NYSE: LH) from “buy” to “hold.” LabCorp is the second largest US commercial reference lab. One of the key factors cited for this change was lower than expected First Quarter volume. Physician office visits have been below the trend line for the first two months of 2010 and physician offices are responsible for a significant percentage of LabCorp’s test volume. It is estimated that for every 1% increase in the unemployment rate, 2.5 million Americans lose their health care benefits.
Other factors influencing the recommendation were weather, intensifying competition and possible pricing pressures from public payors. The analysts reported that “Downside risks: competition, Medicare / Medicaid / VA cuts, weak demand. Upside risks: accretive M&A and share buyback, higher volume growth.”
The United States Department of Labor is investigating Labcorp for not being in compliance with their affirmative action plan and for discriminating against certain sectors of the population. In a recent letter received by LabCorp Sucks from a former employee, the U.S. Department of Labor, Employment Standards Administration’s Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs requested that their Jacksonville, Florida office consider the allegations made by the former employee when conducting future compliance evaluations of Laboratory Corporation of America.
If Laboratory Corporation of America (LabCorp) is found to not be in compliance and fails to correct the problems, they can be sanctioned and could even be restricted from participating in the Medicaid and Medicare program, two major income sources for the Laboratory company. LabCorp can also be prohibited from participating in other government programs, including the CHAMPUS program (The Civilian Health and Medical Program of the Uniformed Services) that provides laboratory services to government employees, and to Veterans Administration program beneficiaries. LabCorp currently contracts with all these government programs to provide reference laboratory services to program participants. Since many HMOs that serve the beneficiaries of these federal programs also contract with LabCorp, the HMOs would also be restricted from using LabCorp. The loss in business could be in the hundreds of millions and could be catastrophic to LabCorp stock (NYSE: LH).
LabCorp’s discrimination problems have been well known to company insiders. The company has various lawsuits pending and has had to settle others by paying out millions. In a recent Florida case, LabCorp even had to fire the law firm representing them after accusations of obstruction of justice by the firm.
Tags: affirmative action plan, contract compliance programs, employment standards administration, federal contract compliance, lab, labcorp, LabCorp Complaints, Labcorp Criminal, LabCorp Employee Stories, LabCorp Stock, LabCorp Stories, labcorp unethical, labcorp whistle blowers, Labcorp Wrongdoings, laboratory services, medicare program, reference laboratory, u s department of labor, united states department of labor
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
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.
LabCorp (Laboratory Corporation of America) said it earned $136.4 million, or $1.24 per share, during the second quarter of 2009, up from $104.2 million, or 92 cents per share, during the same period in 2008.
Excluding restructuring charges, earnings per share were $1.30, compared to $1.24 last year. That’s an almost 5% increase in earnings.
Laboratory Corporation of America, whose NYSE symbol is LH, said its testing volumes rose 2.4 percent from the second quarter of last year, and revenues were $1.19 billion, an increase of 3.6 percent from the same period a year ago.
With about $1.2 billing in revenue for the quarter, LabCorp is making lots of money for their shareholders. But is it at the expense of patients? Is it by sacrificing quality of care? According to patient complaints on this site, it’s a very real possibility. Has Laboratory Corporation of America forgotten that it’s the patients that matter, and not just the insurance companies and third party payers?
When a company grows quickly, it tends to lose its competitive advantage by losing some control over its operation. Incompetent managers take control and run matters their own way, without regards to core company values. In most cases the senior managers see this happening and take immediate action to eliminate the bad apples. The decisions are made by senior managers who have the foresight to see their company succeed in the long-term, not just the short-term. In my personal opinion, LabCorp senior managers have not taken the necessary actions needed to get rid of those lower level managers who will eventually lead to the demise of such a fast growing company. It’s a common story in the health care industry. Remember Integrated Health Services, Coastal Physician Group and Coach? They all had big short-term growth but in the end did not succeed.
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.
LabCorp’s stock hit a new 52-week low today after posting less than expected sales and profits. Even LabCorp supporting analysts downgraded the stock. Here’s one headline from MarketWatch “S&P DOWNGRADES OPINION ON SHARES OF LABCORP OF AMERICA…” Here’s another one “Laboratory Corp. Of America Holdings’ second-quarter net income fell 19% on restructuring costs as the lab-services provider lowered its 2008 outlook.”
At one point during the day LH stock was down almost $7, losing over 10% of the company’s market value. Laboratory Corporation of America’s stock trades on the New York Stock Exchange under the symbol LH.
LabCorp stock is listed in the New York Stock Exchange with a symbol of LH. LabCorp’s stock price has been declining steadily. As on July 20, 2008 the stock has a 52-week high of $81.11 and a low of $65.13. The high was hit on 07/18/2007 and the low on 11/05/2007. It has been lingering around its lows. If you are an investor or hold shares of LabCorp, tell us your story.