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Your FSP at work for you
Recently two issues pertinent to your practice have required engagement by the FSP.
First, we have been actively engaged with UnitedHealthcare and LabCorp Beacon along with the CAP in trying to modify the pilot Laboratory Benefits Management Program currently underway in Florida. No doubt you are aware no denials of payment will occur until January. I am hopeful we can achieve substantial revision in their program, which is unacceptable in its current form. I have discussed the details of our negotiations with several members and remain available to others. I will detail further developments when they solidify.
Secondly, we have our lobbyist Amy Young and attorney Steve Weinstein involved in preventing unacceptable modification of the definition of “usual and customary” in the Medicaid rules. While this might have minor direct impact, if the definition was adopted by other carriers, it could have severe potential financial repercussions. This also is an ongoing effort.
Brett Cantrell, M.D.
You are invited to FSP's 41st Annual Anatomic Pathology Conference
It will be another Sensational program featuring presentations on cutting edge pathology topics. Click here for more information and to register.
UnitedHealthcare delays Lab Benefit Management Program; Forensic pathologist Dr. Norman Thiersch resigns
The Laboratory Benefit Management Program appears to be very cumbersome and will require physicians to notify BeaconLBS before ordering certain laboratory tests, including anatomic pathology. Participating laboratories must verify Beacon has been notified before performing any of the tests on the 82-test list, or else risk not being reimbursed for the test(s).
Clinical labs, pathology groups under pressure to cut costs and deal with shrinking budgets for 2015
By any measure, this year's budget season is a tough one for the nation's clinical laboratories and pathology groups. Most labs are scrambling to adjust to reduced reimbursement and directives from their parent hospitals and health systems to shrink their lab budgets for 2015.
It's why smart cost-cutting tops the list of challenges at all medical laboratory managers and pathologists. Lab leaders need effective approaches to trim spending in their lab without the need to lay off skilled medical technologists and other experienced lab scientists.
Diagnosing deadly cancers earlier with 'lab-on-a-chip'
Medical News Today
At present, diagnosis of lung cancer relies on an invasive biopsy that is only effective after tumors are bigger than 3 centimeters or even metastatic. Earlier detection would vastly improve patients' chances of survival. Now a team of researchers is developing a "lab-on-a-chip" that promises to detect lung cancer — and possibly other deadly cancers — much earlier, using only a small drop of a patient's blood.
BU biolab nears OK amid hopes for tackling Ebola, safety concerns
The Boston Globe
As the Ebola outbreak rages in West Africa, a seven-story laboratory designed to study that virus and others like it stands mostly empty in Boston's South End. But researchers at Boston University, which built the high-security lab with $200 million in federal money, expect a decade of frustration to end soon, perhaps within a year. BU's plans have survived 11 years of risk assessments, public hearings and lawsuits from critics who question the laboratory's safety and value. Now, a review by the Boston Public Health Commission and an inspection by the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention are the final hurdles before scientists can hunt for treatments and vaccines against the world's deadliest pathogens.
Study addresses the challenge of genomic heterogeneity
Known cancer-driving genomic aberrations in localized lung cancer appear to be so consistently present across tumors that a single biopsy of one region of the tumor is likely to identify most of them, according to a paper published in Science. The study led by scientists at The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center addresses the challenge of what scientists call genomic heterogeneity, the presence of many different variations that drive tumor formation, growth and progression, and likely complicate the choice and potential efficacy of therapy.
Early detection of colorectal cancer may be possible with newly found biomarkers
Medical News Today
Despite progress over recent decades, colorectal cancer remains one of the most deadly cancers worldwide. The main cause of death is spread of disease to other organs such as the liver and the lungs. Thus, any research that suggests new lines of approach for making earlier diagnoses is of keen interest to public health.
A culture of inclusiveness: Diversity matters in medical education
By Jonathan Ryan Batson
In the world of medicine, many on various committees and boards still believe diversity is not an issue. They think that a few seats at the table means that somehow we have all arrived and that the system is equal. That view is not only morally profane, but also incompetent. It shows the lack of interest to go further and increase both physical bodies for diversity as well as the the cultural dynamics of diversity in their student body and full-time faculty. A diverse education is needed to improve cultural competency and social awareness of the communities that many hope to serve.
Nurturing resilience, responsibility and resolve in medical students
Over the past decade, the medical education literature has recognized the need to develop a culture that nurtures well-being and resilience in students. However, the introduction of or increase in student fees precipitated a shift in higher education policies toward a consumer model of education. Importantly, it has altered the expectations of students and promoted a sense of "entitlement," rather than "striving" for something where success is not guaranteed.
Soon, it will cost less to sequence a genome than to flush a toilet
We don't traditionally think of flushing the toilet as an action that costs money. But actually the cost of a flush comes in at about 1 cent. Imagine if sequencing a genome was that easy and cheap? Soon, that could be a reality, according to a leading genome researcher. He predicts we will be sequencing genomes for pennies as soon as 2020. And when genomes are that cheap to come by, the information they provide will completely revolutionize medicine as we know it.
Researchers develop new way to assess freshness, effectiveness of whole blood
At the University of Illinois, researchers have developed a new method to assess the freshness and clinical effectiveness of whole blood. As these findings are validated, pathologists and clinical laboratory scientists who manage hospital blood banks may need to establish new guidelines for the use of such blood products.
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