The world of pathology is dominated these days by the insurance companies. With the advent of in-office laboratories owned by physicians. The way it typically works out is that you go to see a doctor, and he or she takes a biopsy. The doctors office then can choose where the biopsy goes. You can have it sent to the lab of his own choosing.
But these days, with many people don’t know is that the lab can be owned by the doctor. How is this possible? It is possible because a of a safe harbor exception. Typically doctors cannot own things that make the money that they can refer to from their offices. Rather, there always has to be in arm’s-length transaction at the heart of every medical decision.
But there are a few exceptions to this. One of them is ancillary laboratory services. The idea behind it is that doctors can get quicker results, and maintain higher levels of quality if they own and are involved in the lab.
The kicker is the doctor still doesn’t have complete free range and jurisdiction when it comes to his or her specimens. Everything is dictated by the insurance companies. Over the last couple of years different insurance companies like at not have required new credentials in order to get paid, to pay the physician for the services.
I feel it really depends on who is running the laboratory as to whether this is a good thing or a bad thing. In my mind, it works a little bit like this. If you have a good group of pathologist who maintain the laboratory., If you have a well-trained staff of histo-technologists and laboratory assistance, then you can guarantee great results. His labs have to be inspected by federal agencies in order to maintain compliance and licensing. So, all of the quality measures including how often they change their solutions how they track problems and incident reports, etc. Have to be monitored.
When it comes down to it, quality control measures are pretty rigorous and strict. It really is not easy to run a laboratory without extreme quality measures in place. As in most cases documentation always beats conversation and likewise so it is in the field of pathology. Things as incidental as names being misspelled on the report have a tremendous impact on your quality assurance levels.
Rigorous logs of detailed information regarding patients have to be kept. Courier logs must be kept to make sure that of specimens are transported her moved around they are accounted for. As one might imagine maintaining strict levels of quality is significant and extremely important when it comes to pathology. After all pathologist are the ones who diagnose things as severe as stages of cancer. None of these things can be left to chance.
It is possible for any individual to go and find report statistics from recent inspections for laboratories that your physician chooses. What you are looking for in order to determine the level and standard of the pathology lab, is deficiency reports and citations. Typically after most inspections any deficiencies will be noted. If the laboratory does not comply with the corrective action they can end up with the citation.
All of this information is public and you can access it by logging on to the state inspection site.