Taking a little break

I have been absolutely knocked flat by a nasty little bug and need to take a few days to convalesce.

I will resume posting as soon as I can.

Abington Memorial Hospital laboratory accused of Medicare, Medicaid fraud

AMH logo

A former employee of Abington Memorial Hospital (AMH) in Pennsylvania has filed a federal lawsuit that alleges the hospital laboratory committed Medicare and Medicaid fraud and that she was retaliated against and wrongfully terminated after she informed hospital administration of the lab's actions. Background/Allegations Ms. Joanne Cleighton was hired by AMH in February 1988 to work in the registration office.  Two years later she was promoted to supervisor and fourteen years after that she … [Continue reading]

Pathology Blawg News Roundup for September 26, 2014

Health Diagnostic Laboratory CEO resigns Ms. Tonya Mallory, CEO of Health Diagnostic Laboratory (HDL), has officially resigned, reportedly because she wants to help her brother open a new business. HDL first came to my attention a couple of weeks ago after the Wall Street Journal wrote an expose about how the federal government was investigating HDL for possibly paying kickbacks to physicians. Since then, Forbes published an article about HDL that discusses "a broader pattern of serious … [Continue reading]

Quest Diagnostics avoids class action lawsuit for overbilling, fraud

An appellate court has upheld a ruling by a lower court that denied certification of a class action lawsuit against Quest Diagnostics, which was accused of unjust enrichment and state law consumer fraud by overbilling patients for laboratory testing. Background The plaintiffs claimed Quest routinely billed patients more than the amount reported on the Explanation of Benefits (EOB) or Electronic Remittance Advice (ERA). They proposed certification of multiple classes: All persons who were … [Continue reading]

The College of American Pathologists’ House of Delegates: What Does It Do?

  Regular readers of this site know I believe pathologist overutilization of tests and services is a very important issue, from both ethical and economic standpoints.  I was hopeful the issue would be discussed at the recent annual meeting of the College of American Pathologists (CAP), and indeed it was brought up at the House of Delegates. But according to Delegates who attended the meeting, the increasingly lively discussion was abruptly ended by the new Speaker of the House, Dr. … [Continue reading]

American Society for Clinical Pathology 2012-2013 financial information

A couple of weeks ago I posted the publically-disclosed 2012 Form 990 for the College of American Pathologists (CAP), so I suppose it is only fair I do the same for the American Society for Clinical Pathology (ASCP) as well. As before, the information contained in the post is not an exhaustive account of the available information in the ASCP's Form 990, but rather more or less the same data I posted for the CAP. For those interested, the ASCP's entire Form 990 is here. Disclosed … [Continue reading]

Millennium Health sues Pathway Genomics for trade secret violations

Millennium Health logo

Millennium Health (formerly Millennium Laboratories) has filed a lawsuit against Pathway Genomics, its CEO James Plante, and Millennium's former laboratory director Dr. Amadeo Pesce, alleging violation of California's Trade Secrets Act, breach of contract, breach of duty, tortious interference, unfair competition, conversion and unjust enrichment. Allegations Millennium hired Dr. Pesce in December 2007 to "develop and operate a state-of-the-art UDT [urine drug toxicology] lab."  Prior to … [Continue reading]

OIG investigating Health Diagnostic Laboratory for possible kickbacks

HDL logo

The Wall Street Journal is reporting the Office of the Inspector General for the Department of Health and Human Services is investigating Health Diagnostic Laboratory (HDL) for potentially paying illegal kickbacks to referring physicians. HDL, which opened in late 2008, "offers the most comprehensive laboratory test menu of risk factors and biomarkers for cardiovascular and related diseases" according to the company's website.  It generated $383 million in revenue in 2013, 41% of which … [Continue reading]

Palmetto GBA introduces new guidelines for morphometric analysis

Palmetto GBA, the Medicare Administrative Contractor for Jurisdiction 11 (the Carolinas and Virginias), has released new guidelines for the appropriate use of morphometric analysis for immunohistochemistry (IHC) stains (CPT codes 88360 and 88361). The guidelines, entitled "Immunohistochemistry Services Coding and Billing Guidelines (M00084)", start out with a short tutorial on how codes G0461 and G0462 should be appropriately reported for qualitative IHC stains, according to the National … [Continue reading]

Federal prosecutor moves to seize $754K from Universal Oral Fluid Laboratories

A federal prosecutor last week moved to seize $753,955 from Universal Oral Fluid Laboratories (UOFL) and its owner, William Hughes. UOFL, which opened only five years ago but is now reportedly "inactive", used to perform toxicology testing on saliva obtained with simple oral swabs. It is also the target of an FBI investigation into violation of the Anti-Kickback Statute (AKS), health care fraud, and money laundering.   According to the forfeiture complaint, the investigation … [Continue reading]

Department of Labor sues AIT Laboratories founder Michael Evans for unjust enrichment

AIT Labs logo

The US Department of Labor (DOL) has filed a lawsuit against Michael Evans, PhD, founder of American Institute of Toxicology (AIT), alleging he unjustly enriched himself when he sold AIT to its employees for a vastly inflated price. The AIT Employee Stock Ownership Plan (ESOP) and its trustee, PBI Bank, Inc, are also named as defendants. Dr. Evans founded AIT, which is now housed in 130,000 total sq ft of space, in 1990 with just five employees.  AIT is composed of three components:  AIT … [Continue reading]

Dr. Steven Hayne loses appeal in lawsuit against The Doctors Company

The Mississippi Supreme Court has upheld a lower court's decision to throw out a lawsuit filed by pathologist Dr. Steven Hayne, who accused medical malpractice insurer The Doctors Company (TDC) of failing to honor the terms of his medical malpractice policy. Background In 1992, Dr. Hayne performed an autopsy on the body of three year old Christina Jackson, who was raped and murdered.  Dr. Hayne testified at trial that he observed bite marks on the child's body, and that there was no doubt the … [Continue reading]

Esoterix Genetic Laboratories sues Qiagen for patent infringement

Esoterix logo

Esoterix Genetic Laboratories has filed a lawsuit against Qiagen, claiming the German company breached a License Agreement signed in 2008 that involves a patent for detecting epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR) mutations. Background In 2008, a British company called DxS Ltd, which was purchased by Qiagen in 2009, signed a License Agreement with Genzyme Corporation.  This agreement allowed DxS to manufacture and sell test kits for detecting EGFR mutations that utilized US Patent … [Continue reading]

Working Stiff by Dr. Judy Melinek hits bestseller list; death penalty off table for alleged Sonnier murder mastermind

Dr. Judy Melinek (PathologyExpert, Inc)

Working Stiff Dr. Judy Melinek, a forensic pathologist based in San Francisco, has written a book entitled Working Stiff which details her two years of training as a forensic pathology and forensic neuropathology fellow at the Office of the Chief Medical Examiner in New York City from July 2001 to June 2003. Working Stiff has received some very positive reviews from USA Today, New York Times, Washington Post, and has earned 4 1/2 stars so far from readers on Amazon. In addition, Working … [Continue reading]

College of American Pathologists 2012 financial information

I recently came across a tax document (Form 990) that the College of American Pathologists (CAP) filed in 2013 for the year 2012.  This information is available to the public, but I personally had never seen it before now, and I am guessing many others have not either. The form puts into perspective just how large the CAP is and also provides some insight into its inner financial workings. I looked for the 2013 form, but could not find it.  This is most likely because the CAP did not … [Continue reading]