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

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.

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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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20 Sep 13 LabCorp Jobs and Careers in Phoenix

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LabCorp Jobs and Careers for PhlebotomistsLabCorp (Laboratory Corporation of America NYSE:LH)  is seeking Phoenix-area technicians. They intend to hire 100 techs within the next 90 days. The company held a job fair in conjunction with the city of Phoenix on Sept. 10th at the Phoenix Business and Workforce Development Center, located at 302 N. First Ave., Phoenix Arizona.

They’re looking for phlebotomists, laboratory assistants, medical technologists and technicians, histotechnicians, health care related customer service reps, specimen processors and warehouse staff. I smell an expansion of locations, or is it the odor of bad employees being replaced? Either way, LabCorp careers are in the making so a word of advice to all those hired to work for LabCorp in Phoenix, treat your patients with respect and do your job. That’s all they expect from you.

LabCorp has more than 34,000 employees worldwide, most of which are good people caught in a bad “it’s quantity not quality that counts” system.

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18 Sep 13 LabCorp Accused of Medicaid Fraud in Virginia

LabCorp (Laboratory Corporation of America Holdings) has been hit with a whistle-blower federal lawsuit alleging the laboratory services company defrauded Virginia’s Medicaid program by billing it at much higher rates than other customers, according to a recently unsealed complaint filed in federal court on September 9th.

Laboratory Corporation of America Labcorp Medicaid FraudRelators Hunter Laboratories LLC and its founder Chris Riedel contend that LabCorp made false claims for payment of Medicaid-covered laboratory tests by claiming that the fees they charged to Medicaid were no higher that the maximum allowed under Virginia regulations.

As a participating Medicaid provider, LabCorp is required to provide services to Medicaid patients at their most favorable rates, but they repeatedly defrauded Medicaid by billing the program for fees well in excess of their lowest costs, according to the complaint.

For example, LabCorp, the Relators say, provided volume-based discounts to members of the Premier Inc. purchasing collective, resulting in discounted fees that are way below what LabCorp has billed to Medicaid.

“This suit calls defendants to answer for defrauding Virginia’s taxpayers and compromising the welfare of Medicaid beneficiaries,” the Relators said.

Additionally, for some tests, rates for private customers have been discounted well below costs, but LabCorp nevertheless has an interest in keeping those rates low in order to prevent any other laboratories from gaining a piece of the market, according to the complaint.

“In other words, by using the publicly funded Medicaid program to subsidize private discounts, the larger and better established laboratories have cornered much of the market for themselves,” the complaint said.

The suit alleges violations of the Virginia Fraud Against Taxpayers Act. The Relators are seeking civil penalties and treble damages.

Representatives for LabCorp did not immediately respond to requests for comment on Wednesday.

Riedel and Hunter have won big in cases against LabCorp before. In 2011, LabCorp agreed to pay $49.5 million to settle a California lawsuit alleging it illegally overcharged Medi-Cal for laboratory tests and gave kickbacks in exchange for Medi-Cal referrals.

The suit originated with a qui tam complaint also filed in 2005 Riedel and Hunter alleging that LabCorp and others had systematically overcharged Medi-Cal over a 15-year period. In March 2009, then-California Attorney General Jerry Brown announced that the state had intervened in the suit.

 

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28 Jul 13 Labcorp Scamming Federal Government

LabCorp ScamAndrew 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).

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26 Jul 13 LabCorp Shareholders Disappointed

LabCorp Shareholders are DisappointedLabCorp 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.

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15 Jan 12 LabCorp Under Investigation for Medicaid and Medicare Fraud

LabCorp Medicaid and Medicare FraudLabCorp 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.

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11 Nov 10 PSA Test by LabCorp

PSA testPSA tests are common for men. A Prostate Specific Antigen (PSA) Test measures the level of PSA in the blood. A blood sample is sent to the laboratory and the amount of PSA in the blood is measured. PSA is produced by prostate cells and the levels in the body can be used to detect disease.

When PSA levels are elevated it’s important for the doctor to find out why. The levels could be high for many reasons, from a bacterial infection to a tumor or cancer in the prostate. So when a standard blood test at my cardiologist showed high PSA levels I got concerned. The first thing I noticed is that even though the blood was drawn in my doctor’s office, it was sent to Lab Corp to be analyzed. It’s the only lab he uses so I had no choice but to use LabCorp. He immediately told me to go see a Urologist.

There’s only one Urologist that I felt comfortable with, Dr. Bejany in the University of Miami Clinic building. He is not only a friend, but one of the best Urologists in Miami, Florida.

PSA Blood TestWithin a few days I was in his office with the original LabCorp test results showing elevated PSA levels. While he reviewed the results I told him that the test could have been faulty and that I am not confident in the results because it was performed by LabCorp. He said that it’s possible so he had his staff draw blood for another PSA test. I immediately noticed that his office also uses Laboratory Corporation of America for PSA tests.

Prostate Test Digital ExamThe doctor wanted to rule out bacterial infections so he had me fill a cup with urine. That was also marked to be sent to LabCorp. I was then moved into an exam room where he performed a digital exam. After the physical exam he requested that I do a second urine test. From the time of the first test to the second one I had ample time to drink plenty of water. I once again filled another cup of urine and after I gave it to his nurse, she marked that one for LabCorp as well. So far so good as the tests went.

After a week I called the doctors office to see what the test results showed. The nurse on the phone was baffled and kept me on hold for a few minutes. She searched all her files but was unable to provide results. She explained that the person in the office who handled the test was out for the day and that she couldn’t find any of my results. She requested that I call the next day when she’s in the office. That was yesterday.

Today I eagerly called to get the results. As anyone with the possibility of having a life-altering disease can tell you, every day without results feels like a month. The receptionist on the phone checked my file and put me on hold. I was on hold for a few minutes when she returned and said that she was checking with someone else in the office about my results. After being on hold for another 4 minutes she answered that she was still looking for the PSA test results and once again put me on hold. Knowing the efficiency of this doctor I started to get concerned about what the results showed.

Prostate PSA and Bacteria Test Urine SampleA few minutes went by and the doctor picked up the phone. He told me that the PSA blood test showed my PSA levels dropping since the first PSA test, but they were still above medically acceptable levels. I asked about the possibility of a bacterial infection versus a tumor or cancer and his response was something I was concerned about, the urine tests inexplicably showed no results. It had to happen to me AGAIN, LabCorp screwed up. LabCorp either lost or failed to process both of my urine samples.

Could it be that they intentionally threw out the samples because they know I’m the author of LabCorpSucks.com? That would take too much thinking on their part. From the way they run their operation, it would be giving them too much undeserved credit. Could it be that they just outright SUCK. That makes more sense to me. They not only lost one, but two urine samples. Talk about incompetence.

The doctor decided that it didn’t make sense to have me come in again for another urine test and wait another week. He prescribed antibiotics just in case a bacteria was causing the increased PSA levels. I was then requested to come in next month for another PSA blood test to see if the antibiotics resolved the problem. He was clearly frustrated at the LabCorp PSA test results, or should I say lack thereof. I wasn’t as I know that LabCorp sucks!

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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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26 Mar 10 LabCorp Stock Downgraded and Shares Drop

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.”

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16 Feb 10 LabCorp Reports Profits But Its Future Remains Cloudy

Laboratory Corporation of America (LabCorp – New York Stock Exchange Symbol LH) recently reported an increase in fourth-quarter net earnings to $142.7 million, as compared to $118.1 million for the 4th quarter of 2008. The increase in earning were due partly to a gain of $21.5 million from resolving state tax issues and realizing foreign tax credits.

LabCorp’s total revenues for the fourth quarter rose to $1.17 billion, up from $1.12 billion the year before. For the full year, the company had profits of $543.3 million, up from earnings of $464.5 million in 2008. The increase also includes all the income from the labs that Labcorp has acquired.

LabCorp CEO Dave KingLabcorp also announced that it will be spending $250 Million to buy back shares of their own stock. Labcorp’s Chairman and CEO David King said “ We remain optimistic about the growth opportunities that lie ahead for us in 2010, and we are well positioned to capitalize on them.”  I highlight the word lie because while he was making the statement, he was filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission that he had just sold shares of LabCorp stock and pocketed over $171,960 in profits. You would think that when the head of a company announces positive results and claims to be “optimistic about the growth opportunities” he would be buying stock, not selling it. But then he owns lots of LabCorp stock and could have sold for other reasons.

US Department of Labor Investigation of LabCorpOne thing that LabCorp CEO David P. King didn’t boast about is that of a rumored investigation of LabCorp by the US Department of Labor, Employment Standards Administration, Office of Federal Contract Compliance Program. According to posts in CafePharma.com, LabCorp’s Florida operations are in trouble. They had to settle an employment lawsuit at a rumored cost of about $2.7 Million. In addition, they have a pending Federal lawsuit from a former employee that has not gone too well for them. With allegations of witness tampering and obstruction of justice, LabCorp has had to fire the law firm that was handling the case. The posts include the following:

OFCCP would like to hear from those who have been discriminated against based on a protected characteristic. (personal info removed) A formal recommendation has been made for an investigation of LCA Florida. Those who aren’t afraid to get their hands dirty, write:

US Department of Labor
Employment Standards Administration
Office of Federal Contract Compliance Program
Charles E Bennett Federal Building
400 West Bay Street
Room 939
Jacksonville, Florida 32202

or call:

(904) 351-0551

SUBJECT: LABCORP CONDUCT IN FLORIDA.

 All correspondence is confidential. 

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