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My Own LabCorp Story & Complaint

My Doctor, a top notch Endocrinologist at the University of Miami, sent me to LabCorp in Miami, Florida for various tests. I went to the facility by the Civic Center (a building that houses many University of Miami doctors) and had my blood taken without much of a wait time. It was all according to plan until I went to my next medical visit and the doctor told me that some of the tests were inconclusive. I curiously asked what that meant and he responded, "There are no readings. Somehow the test was not done or the blood samples did not provide adequate readings." Oh well, I had to go do the tests all over again.

I went to the same location and the same nice lady, Maria, told me to sign in and wait. As people continued to enter the office, they all signed in and waited. In came one of the drivers for LabCorp and Maria went with him to the back to prepare the specimens that he was taking with him. They then went up to the front of the office and continued conversing with each other. After about 45 minutes of waiting I informed Maria that it was almost 2 PM and I had not eaten all day. She apologized and told me that the Phlebotomist was busy preparing the specimens for the drivers and that she had to do the paperwork. There was nothing that she can do about it. After over an hour I finally got up and requested that she give me my prescription back. She apologized for what was happening and informed me that "there's nothing I can do." Behind me walked out another patient who on the way out took a customer satisfaction survey form. We both entered the elevator and she angrily said "I just moved from New York and while in New York I have never had this type of treatment. Is this poor service common in Miami?" I explained that I had never had to wait this long and that I was going to call the regional director for Labcorp to file a complaint.

I went home and after eating I ran off to work and stuck the prescription in my pocket. The next day I called the regional office of LabCorp and after 15 minutes of being transferred from line to line, spoke to a gentleman named Robert Blanco.He seemed genuinely interested in my plight and told me that he would investigate the incident. That's the last I heard from him.

After two weeks, I decided to go and have my blood drawn at another LabCorp facility. This one was closer to my office and is located at 951 S. Lejeune Road, Suite 302, Miami, Florida. When I arrived it was approximately 2:50 PM (I figured that I would miss the same problem with the driver). When I entered the office, there was no one there. No one at the counter, no one outside waiting, no one anywhere visible. I did hear a lady behind some dividers on a personal phone call with what appeared to be her boyfriend. I called out "Hello.....Hello" but no one came out and the personal conversation continued. Finally a lady walked in through the front door and told me that she was helping the driver place the specimens in the car. I explained that I was here for blood tests and she told me that she was sorry but the driver arrived early and had already picked up all the specimens. She could not take the blood test. She was actually very nice about it and asked me to please come back the next day. I left and went to work.

After about a week I returned to the same office. This time it was around 2:45 PM. The office was closed and while I heard voices from behind the door, no one would open the door. I knocked for about 5 minutes but no one responded or opened the door. I then called Robert Blanco from outside the office to complain about my plight to get a blood test (I had written his number down on the back of the prescription). He answered the phone and I quickly reminded him that I was the person that called a few weeks prior with a problem at the Civic Center office. He seemed to remember. I explained that this was my third visit to one of his offices and still no blood test. I briefly told him that I was outside the office and while it was not 3 PM yet (the posted office closing time), they had the door closed and no one would open it. Mr. Blanco put me on hold and attempted to call the office. He then returned to me and told me that he is unable to get anyone to answer the phone at the office. Right at that same time, 3 drivers came through the hallway, the door was opened for them and they walked in. The office door was closed behind them. I then continued on the phone with Mr. Blanco and he once again told me that he will "investigate the matter". I told him good-bye and hung up the phone.

Furious, I left and drove to my office. I called the main office and after a few transfers, spoke to a very nice lady named Janice. She said that she was the Administrative Assistant to Don Hardison, the Chief Operations Officer. I explained my problem in Miami and that I was so furious that I was setting up a complaint website against LabCorp. She transferred the call to Mr. Hardison. He told me that he is aware of various issues in the region and that he was fairly new, but will certainly try to fix all the problems that the company has. He sounded earnest and like someone who truly cares about good customer care. He requested that I email him with all the issues and that he was going to contact Mr. Blanco. I explained to him that I have never been treated this way at any health care related facility. He apologized provided me his email address and requested that I please not put up a complaint website. I told him that I will think about it. Still mildly upset at this complete waste of my time and inability to get my blood tests, I logged into a domain registration website that our company uses. I noticed that was available and thought seriously about registering the domain.

A few minutes later my cell phone rang. It was what appeared to be a totally illiterate woman who initially called me by a strange name. She seemed to be having a conversation with me and a conversation with someone else at the same time. I said, I am not that person and told her who I was. I then explained what happened and her response was, "They were there until 3:10 PM". Explaining that being there and having the office open to patients are two separate things she continued to tell me that they were there and defending the office's actions. I simply told her that what she is telling me is totally incorrect as I was on the phone with Mr. Blanco at around 2:50 PM. She continued defending the office and acted as though I was lying. Fed up with her poor attitude, I told her that I am just about to register the domain and that I will take things up my own way. She responded "I do not have to put up with that kind of language." I told her that the word sucks means substandard and that it was not foul language. She once again said "I don't have to put up with that kind of language, Good bye" and hung up on me. I went from red to bright purple, registered the domain and started to prepare my email to Mr. Hardison. In the process I called Mr. Robert Blanco to find out who was the lady that called me. I wanted to include it in my email to Mr. Hardison. He answered his phone and immediately said "you should not talk to ladies that way. She told me that you used the "F" word." I explained the gist of our conversation and that I never used that language with her. Furthermore, her poor customer service attitude was out of line and that all she did was make me angrier by insisting that they were there until 3:10 PM. I explained that her story can not be correct as I was on the phone with him at around 2:50 PM. His response was, "No, they were there but the door was closed. She has no reason to lie to me. You used the "F" word.". I then told him that NOW I understand the problems that the region has, referring to him. I said good bye and asked what the lady's position was with the company. He responded that she was the Supervisor of Patient Services. I said good-bye and hung up the phone. Thereafter I decided not to send the email to Mr. Hardison. I suspected that Mr. Robert Blanco had effectively turned the whole situation around. It was clear that instead of straightening out the problem, it was easier to tell Mr. Hardison that I used foul language and I am some sort of "bad guy". Typical mid-level manager defense.

Well up goes the website. Receiving so many emails and posts about poor customer experiences, I realized how bad their operation is. First they failed to perform my required tests, even though they charged my insurance for them. Then the long mission to get re-tested. It has to be a fluke and maybe just my luck. So about a month later, I was in the Civic Center area and decided that I had to have my blood test in time for my doctor's appointment on July 1st. I had another doctor also require an additional test and he included it in the original prescription. He told me that many of his patients have complained about LabCorp and he no longer sends any patients to them. Even though he warned me about going back to LabCorp, I said why not try the Civic Center office again (I think that I am a gluten for punishment). Maria was very nice and I only had to wait about 20 minutes. They drew the blood and I left thinking that maybe all this was a fluke. After almost 2 weeks, the results were finally faxed to the office of the two doctors. I was called by one of the doctors, the one that warned my about using LabCorp, and he faxed me the results so that he can explain them to me on the phone. The report included a statement "UNABLE TO CLARIFY TEST WITH DR'S OFFICE". "REPORT DELAYED IN ORDER TO CONTACT YOU TO CLARIFY REQUESTED TEST (S)." And guess what, the tests that he ordered were not done. Whether they were charged for or not is not known yet. I will be in contact with my insurance company and make sure that they are not paid for. If in fact they did charge for them, then it is off to the authorities and a criminal complaint as it is prima facie evidence of organized fraud.

From LabScam to poor service and possibly to LabScam again, who knows what the future holds for LabCorp. I can tell you one thing, as long as Robert Blanco and the Supervisor of Patient Service by the name of Ana is working for Labcorp, I will never go to LabCorp again. Not only that, I will continue to convince all the doctors and medical professionals I know to boycott LabCorp. Those who care about their patients health should never send them there. So far 3 doctors down and thousands more to go. By tomorrow it will be 4.

Please keep sending me your emails and posting your complaints. Eventually the quality assurance agencies and the government's criminal investigation agencies will get involved. That's when labCorp will get it.

UPDATE: July 20, 2008

Well I finally convinced another physician that LabCorp sucks. The results came in and once again where missing some vital information. For the next appointment the endocrinologist gave me a Quest prescription and told me that he will never send patients to LabCorp again. This is from a University of Miami doctor that was probably one of the biggest referrers to LabCorp's Civic Center facility.

A few days later I went to a cardiologist at South Miami Hospital . This is their top guy and someone I consider a personal friend. During the visit he decided that he wanted to check my blood. His assistant Judy started drawing blood and I asked "what lab are you using?" Judy informed me that it was LabCorp. When I explained all the problems with them, she said we have never really had a problem with them. I told her that maybe they were doing a better job with doctor's offices. A substantial amount of blood was drawn and that was the end of that.

A little over a week passed and I received a call from Judy. "I don't know how to tell you this because you hate LabCorp." I immediately responded "They messed up the lab work?" Her response was somewhat face-saving. "Well not all of them. They claim that there was not enough blood for the most important test of all." Judy knew that there was enough blood as she drew it herself, but I guess that she was somewhat defensive as I had told her how bad LabCorp had gotten. She requested that I come in anytime for another test. I told her that I'll figure out what to do. It was a simple decision, LabCorp never again. I called another doctor who is a friend of mine and he told me to come over. His assistant drew blood (she was incredible as I did not even feel the needle going in) and sent it to a local lab, Florida Reference Lab. Now maybe I will get the results that I have been waiting for over six months from LabCorp.

UPDATE: August 5th, 2008

The results from Florida Reference Lab came in within days after the exam. They were faxed over to my doctor on the 5th working day. All results look good. If LabCorp had only done their job and acted in the same fashion as this local laboratory, this website would not be in existence and I would not be writing this. They should take lessons from the smaller labs that still care about their customer service and reputation.


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