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

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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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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.

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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.

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