ADVANCE Magazine Webinar: The Power of Lab Data for Patients, Payors and Providers

FREE Advance Magazine Webinar:

Innovative Solutions which Unleash the Power of
Your Lab Data for Patients, Payors and Providers

Today, 70% of medical decisions are driven by laboratory data. The transformation, timely delivery and use of that information is not only critical to the laboratory, but to the healthcare system at large. However, limitations of laboratory systems have crippled the ability for laboratory organizations to extract, monitor and share the information assets they produce. Demands of health reform are overwhelming and labs are expected to do more with less. To maintain and increase profits and quality, information-based decision making is critical.

Laboratory-focused solutions, such as Viewics Health Insighter, enable laboratories to dramatically grow their businesses into their communities, reduce operating costs and deliver quality results in a shorter timeframe. Through innovative solutions, laboratories are creating differentiation and strategically positioning themselves in the healthcare system.

This webinar will provide insightful tips and thought leadership information to assist you in getting the most out of laboratory data. Attendees of this webinar will explore:

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♦ How laboratories can capitalize on their data assets
♦ What kind of information payors and patients are requesting: Why they are requesting it, Why labs should provide the information, The challenges with delivering the information
♦ Real, proven solutions for HEDIS reporting, Patient results reporting to mobile, Business intelligence/analytics
♦ Key considerations when selection a solution to serve your needs

Following the presentation, our speaker will take part in an interactive Q&A session. Please come prepared with your questions on this topic.


 Featured Speaker

Sonny Varadan, MBA, PMP
IT Management Consultant

Nichols Management Group, LTD.


 To register for this special webinar, Click Here! 


Viewics Sponsors Executive War College 2013

Viewics Serves as Sponsor for the 2013 
Executive War College Conference on Lab Management


PRESS RELEASE

Viewics, Inc
440 N Wolfe Road
Sunnyvale, CA 94085
Phone: 415-439-0084

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Media Contact: Justin Clark

Viewics Serves as Sponsor for the 2013 Executive War College Conference on Lab Management

Sunnyvale, California (April 22, 2013) – Viewics, Inc., an innovator in the field of healthcare analytics and business intelligence, announced its support of the 18th annual Executive War College held on April 30th – May 1st 2013 in New Orleans, Louisiana. This unique conference brings together key laboratory executives, pathologists, and other industry leaders who tackle the critical issues facing clinical laboratories and pathology groups.

With over 700 attendees expected this year, Viewics is excited to show these laboratory leaders how they provide targeted data mining and dashboarding solutions that enable laboratories and hospitals access to key performance indicators within their sales, operational, clinical and quality data in one easy to use intuitive platform. With dozens of Out-of-the-Box reports, Viewics enables laboratory leaders quick access to the data they need to enhance operational outcomes with no day-to-day IT involvement. By extracting, mining, and analyzing the information from Laboratory Information Systems (LIS), Health Information Systems (HIS), Electronic Medical Record Systems (EMR), Anatomic Pathology, Finance/Billing, Outreach, Payroll, and other enterprise systems Viewics is able to provide a 360° view of your business.

About Executive War College
As one of the largest and most highly regarded conferences in the diagnostic laboratory industry, the Executive War College Conference is hosted by The Dark Report, and provides educational opportunities, including success stories, case studies and firsthand experiences on laboratory strategy, operations and management with more than 80 presentations and over 90 of the industry’s leading speakers. More information about the 18th Annual Executive War College is available at www.executivewarcollege.com.

About Viewics
Viewics, Inc. provides business intelligence and analytics solutions that enable healthcare organizations to drive enhanced operational, clinical and financial outcomes. The company’s flagship product, Viewics Health Insighter (VHI), is a cloud-based software as a service solution that provides individually targeted decision support solutions for Clinical and Anatomic Pathology Laboratories. Leveraging decades of healthcare and analytics experience, the VHI provides key metrics and insights that enable employees across the enterprise. Viewics provides a turnkey solution that automatically integrates with widely used Health Information Systems and drives a quick ROI for its clients by enabling information-based decision-making.

For additional information contact: Justin M. Clark at 415-439-0664

Indiana direct billing law clarified

Indiana state flag

Indiana state flag

Last Thursday in the March 28 edition of STATLINE, there was brief mention of a bill supported by both the CAP and the Indiana Association of Pathologists that had just passed the Indiana legislature.  The bill apparently served to clarify the direct billing law already in place since 2011, the pertinent portion of which can be read here.  The full text of the STATLINE piece can be read on the CAP’s page, but here is the part that caught my eye:

House Bill 1105 clarifies that physicians who perform anatomic pathology services on a patient sample can bill a patient or payer a global bill that includes the cost of histological processing (technical component), provided that they do not add a fee to the cost of the histological processing. In addition, the legislation clarifies that the direct billing law does not regulate hospital billings for in-patients or out-patients of their facilities.

I was curious about what exactly led to the need for clarification, so I reached out to the CAP for some background information.  The CAP was kind enough to provide me with a letter written by Dr. Kathryn Knight, Chair of the Federal and State Affairs Committee, to Indiana State Rep. Edward Clere.

The full letter can be read here.

Basically, it sounds as though some, but not all, parties were interpreting the phrase “health care provider” to include hospitals, when that was never the intent of the direct billing legislation.  The clarification bill makes clear hospitals are permitted to globally bill for anatomic pathology services for both inpatients and outpatients.

The second part of the clarification is apparently a carve-out for dermatologists who read their own slides but purchase the technical component from an independent laboratory.  This allows a dermatologist to bill for both the technical and professional components of the 88305, but they are still not permitted to markup the technical service they purchased from the outside lab.

I am glad both the CAP and Indiana pathologists supported this clarification.  By doing so, they again demonstrated organized pathology is completely reasonable and transparent in its direct billing legislative endeavors, which aim to simply protect patients from unethical pathology billing schemes, not create unfair restrictions.

Many thanks to the CAP for helping me understand this issue a little better.

Acceptance of ISO Accreditation by United States Regulators

A2LA

Acceptance of ISO Accreditation by United States Regulators

by Peter Unger, President/CEO of A2LA

U.S. Regulatory Policy

In the United States, conformity assessment activities have historically lacked a coordinated system of implementation, relied heavily on government regulation without oversight and relied on the general public to identify violations.  This process provided for opportunities to abuse the system and ignore regulatory requirements.  To address this, an executive order was published in 1993 which encouraged coordination of regulation and the use of private sector entities.  Since this time, the use of private sector organizations to perform oversight roles has grown and has fostered increased inter-operability, eased the strain on governmental agencies to enforce regulation and increased accountability of organizations working in the United States.

[Read more...]

A2LA Training Course—ISO 15189-2012 and Accreditation


Image Map

CAP accredits tenth lab in Dubai, UAE

To follow up on my recent post about CAP accreditation, as well as the excellent post from the Digital Pathology Blog, which discusses the accreditation program in more detail, there is recent news that the CAP just accredited its tenth lab in the United Arab Emirates.

The article highlights the fact that the CAP’s accreditation program is considered the international gold standard, and for that, the CAP, and its members, should be proud.

From Emirates News Agency:

WAM Dubai, May 2nd, 2012 (WAM) — National Reference Laboratory (NRL) in DuBiotech Dubai has been awarded accreditation by the Accreditation Committee of the College of American Pathologists (CAP), based on the results of a recent onsite inspection.

It is now one of only ten CAP accredited laboratories in the United Arab Emirates and the only independent laboratory in the UAE to hold both CAP and ISO 15189 accreditations.

[Read more...]

CAP’s official position on accrediting in office pathology labs

I previously did a post on Aetna’s new requirement that in office anatomic pathology labs be accredited either by the CAP or The Joint Commission in order for pathology claims to be paid.  While this could have been an opportunity for the CAP to stand against in office labs and not accredit them, the CAP instead said they would assist these labs in achieving accreditation.  In the post, I wondered if the reason the CAP is choosing to accredit these labs is because of the money involved in the accreditation process.  From the original Laboratory Economics article:

CAP says that the application fee for accreditation is $799. In addition, CAP says that its accredi­tation program costs the typical in-office pathology lab about $1,400 to $1,600 per year, depend­ing on the complexity and volume of tests.

There are currently roughly 3,000 in office anatomic pathology labs in the US.  Let’s just say CAP gets half of the accreditation business and TJC gets the other half.  That means CAP stands to make $1.2 million in one-time application fees and $2.25 million per year in accreditation fees.  That is a lot of money.

But I wanted to give CAP a chance to explain their position, so I submitted the following question to CAP about this issue:

[Read more...]

Aetna to require CAP or Joint Commission accreditation for in office anatomic pathology labs

I read about this in the April edition of Laboratory Economics, which is an excellent publication.  For those that do not subscribe, I will quote some of the interesting parts from the article:

The new Aetna requirement for CAP or JCAHO accreditation for in-office pathology labs be­comes effective August 1, 2012. The requirement applies to both the technical and professional component of services billed for CPT codes 88300-88314 and 88342.

Finally!  A private carrier is standing up for patients and requiring proper accreditation if these docs want to get paid for self referral of anatomic pathology services.  In addition, what a great opportunity for the CAP to stand up for the majority of its members and say they will not grant accreditation for an in office anatomic pathology laboratory.  After all, if in office labs cannot easily achieve accreditation, then perhaps some in house labs will close, utilization of pathology services will drop, patients will not have unnecessary biopsies done purely for profit, and independent and hospital based pathologists can start to recover specimens that have been taken away for unscrupulous reasons.

Is that what the CAP is doing?  It doesn’t appear so, at least not at this point.  Instead, they have made a handy dandy web page to help in office lab owners navigate the accreditation process more easily.

Why would they do this?  I wonder if it’s because they can make money from it.

CAP says that the application fee for accreditation is $799. In addition, CAP says that its accredi­tation program costs the typical in-office pathology lab about $1,400 to $1,600 per year, depend­ing on the complexity and volume of tests.

Hopefully we will soon learn why CAP has decided to play ball.

Moving on.  Also from the article:

The new accreditation requirement will be a “big stumbling block” for smaller in-office pathology labs (<3,000 cases per year), says John Cochran, MD, chief executive at Chestatee Pathology As­sociates (Smyrna, GA). But he also says that accreditation is “a major step toward universal accep­tance” of the in-office lab model. “It will help legitimize these labs by ensuring that quality patient diagnostics is the main concern, not profit. As both a fellow in CAP and as a physician surveyor with The Joint Commission, I know that both organizations will help ensure CLIA standards compliance and the highest quality patient diagnostics.”

“Many pathologists do appreciate the need that in-office labs serve, but either don’t have the time to voice their opinions or are afraid to, given the vitriolic attacks by the naysayers, who are invari­ably hospital-based pathologists who have lost business to in-office labs,” adds Cochran.

In my opinion, accreditation of a lab does absolutely nothing to “ensure that quality patient diagnostics is the main concern, not profit.”  The two are not mutually exclusive.  These in office lab owners will look at the accreditation as merely a $1500 per year decrease in profit.  If they were truly concerned about putting quality over profit, wouldn’t these labs have voluntarily sought CAP or Joint Commission accreditation prior to this requirement?  Even for the best labs in the world, profit is still a main concern.  It has to be.  Without meaningful profit, a lab would cease to exist, unless of course it receives funding from somewhere else.

If profit was not a concern, these clinicians would simply find a pathologist that best suits the needs of their patients and allow that pathologist to bill global for their services.  But they don’t, so profit is the main concern and will remain so even after they gain accreditation.

I am also interested as to how in house surgical pathology labs contribute to patient care with respect to the intent of the in office ancillary exception to Stark.  Are these labs magically able to process and diagnose these biopsies during the same patient visit?

I sent an email to Dr. Cochran asking him some of these questions.  I will post his responses when I receive them.

Aetna is pushing for this accreditation to happen very quickly, and many in house labs will not be able to make the deadline.  So this makes me wonder whether they really want these labs to be accredited in the first place or if there is another motive at play here.  Then I read further:

Aetna says that in-office pathology labs that do not obtain these credentials by August 1 must refer their Aetna patients to other in-network pathology labs. Aetna’s preferred labs are Quest Diagnos­tics and AmeriPath, including its Dermpath Diagnostics division.

And there it is.  This could be just another example of the pull through agreement that Aetna has going with the Quests and LabCorps of the world, for which they are currently under investigation by the federal government.  Indeed, according to a recent post on Histonet, Aetna is not even telling people about other CAP accredited non-hospital labs to whom they can send specimens if their current lab fails to meet the deadline–they are telling them to just send them straight to Quest/Ameripath.