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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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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.

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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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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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27 Jun 10 LabCorp Mixes Up Patient Samples

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.

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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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