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  #1   ^
Old Fri, May-01-15, 07:57
JEY100's Avatar
JEY100 JEY100 is offline
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Default Direct to Consumer Labs changing market

This is big news for anyone in the US who wants more control over their health, and save money to boot, but if moderators feel it belongs elsewhere, please move the thread.

The direct to consumer lab market has been growing rapidly since about 2011, and is allowed in all states but four. DirectLabs has excellent service and has saved me $$ over the hospital set lab prices at Duke Healthcare and local doctor offices as well. There are others in this market, SaveonLabs is one to compare package pricing.
The blood draws are done by a nearby LabCorp office...but now LabCorp plans to muscle into the business themselves. "Retake that territory" is the term LabCorp spokesman used. Admittedly, it may result in even lower prices by cutting out the DTC labs. Full article in next post.

http://www.bloomberg.com/news/artic...order-own-tests

Last edited by JEY100 : Fri, May-01-15 at 08:31.
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  #2   ^
Old Fri, May-01-15, 08:02
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JEY100 JEY100 is offline
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Plan: IF Fung/LC Westman/Primal
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Default

The Doctor is Out, LabCorp to Let Consumers Order Their own Tests.

Consumers will soon be able to bypass their doctors by going online to order cholesterol readings, thyroid tests and other bloodwork from the biggest diagnostics company in the U.S.
Laboratory Corp. of America Holdings will let customers go online to pay for tests, visit a service center to get blood drawn, then view the results on the Web. The company has already been doing back-office lab work for a number of Internet firms that let people order up tests without a doctor.
Rapid and at-home diagnostics are a growing corner of the health-care market, with businesses like WellnessFX Inc. and Direct Laboratory Services LLC tapping into demand from patients who want to get sensitive results in private or seek to monitor their health outside of the traditional doctor’s office. Companies like LabCorp are tapping into demand from consumers who want to measure their bodies to monitor the effects of exercise and healthy living and to learn about their potential risks of disease.
“We need to retake that territory for ourselves,” LabCorp Chief Executive Officer David King said in a telephone interview. “It’s a growth opportunity for us. It’s something consumers increasingly want to have access to, and it’s something we’re doing already and our capabilities are being utilized without us getting the benefit from a branding perspective.”
LabCorp is also facing competition as options emerge for consumers to get tests without visiting a service center at all. Startup Theranos Inc., founded in 2003, has developed a diagnostic kit available in some Walgreens locations that it says can provide a range of results, from lipid panels to the presence of HIV, with mere drops of blood.
Drugstore Partnership?
LabCorp’s direct-to-consumer business will initially be run online. The company is exploring a partnership with a drugstore chain as well -- an idea that rival Quest Diagnostics Inc. tried and scrapped. The company didn’t say precisely which tests it will offer or how much it will charge. In some states, the law will still require consumers to get a doctor to order tests.
The consumer appetite for health information is growing as devices like the FitBit and the Apple Watch offer more sophisticated ways to monitor the body, and as companies like 23andme Inc. clash with regulators over the interpretations they provide for genetic information.
“We have entered an era where there’s a lot more patient involvement in their health care,” said Steven Lamm, medical director of the Tisch Center for Men’s Health at New York University’s Langone Medical Center. “The concern is when you want to take control of your health without being properly informed about what you’re actually testing.”
Taking Back
Erena DiGonis, a licensed clinical social worker and health coach with a consulting business in New York City and Long Island, decided to order her own bloodwork online when the specialists she saw wouldn’t run certain tests that she wanted done for a thyroid condition.
“It makes you feel like you’re taking back your own health by knowing where things stand,” she said of the testing she ordered online via DirectLabs. “It really empowered me and empowered my clients that I recommended this service to. If you wanted to get your cholesterol tested an extra time each year to see if your diet is working, it’s nice to see concrete results.”
Many of the tests don’t come cheap. WellnessFX, based in San Francisco, charges $988 for its most comprehensive package, which includes biomarkers for omega-3 fatty acids and fibrinogen, a protein produced by the liver. Customers can go to a Quest Diagnostics center to do their bloodwork, and they can add a 40-minute consultation with a physician to discuss the results.
New Revenue
DirectLabs, based in Mandeville, Louisiana, offers more routine tests like a $29 metabolic panel -- glucose, kidney, fluids, electrolytes, calcium and liver -- and a $49 measure of Prostate Specific Antigen, which the company says can be used to detect cancer.
Lab operators like LabCorp and Quest Diagnostics are looking for new sources of revenue as they contend with lower reimbursement from insurers and Medicare. The recent movement by hospital companies to buy up physician-owned medical practices has also siphoned off some of the lab work that the major providers had traditionally done.
LabCorp shares have gained 23 percent in the past year, lifted by a November agreement to buy drug-research firm Covance Inc. for $6.1 billion to expand beyond testing. The stock rose less than 1 percent to $125.35 at the close in New York.
Quest Diagnostics’ 2002 attempt to start a consumer business, offering bloodwork through CVS stores in Florida and Ohio, fizzled by 2006. Quest does offer a handful of blood tests directly to consumers in some states through a program called Blueprint for Wellness Direct Pay.
More Educated
If LabCorp succeeds now, it’s because people are more knowledgeable and interested in their health data than they were then, said William Quirk, an analyst at Piper Jaffray Cos.
“There’s no question that consumers are more educated now than they were five, 10, 15 years ago -- that’s thanks to the Internet and smartphones and apps and such.” Quirk said.
The question is what tests consumers really want, and if they’re motivated to seek data without prompting from a doctor, Quirk said.
“This isn’t like what color iPhone do you want,” he said. “There’s a reason you get a prescription for lab work done, because a physician is seeking information to make a diagnosis.”
Running a consumer business will mean LabCorp must navigate the variety of state laws and regulations on online diagnostics -- some favorable, some challenging. Arizona, for example, passed a law this month that will allow residents to get blood tests without a doctor’s order. More than 20 states allow patients to order blood work without a prescription, Quirk said.
Controlling Health
“The underlying principle is people have a right to control their health, so they should be able to find out anything they want about their health,” King said of the movement in Arizona allowing patients to order any test they would like. The reality, he warned, is far more complicated than that.
“When you get into more complex things like thyroid disease, oncology and infectious disease, I’m completely supportive of the idea that a patient should understand and take accountability for their care -- but there’s interpretation,” he said. LabCorp will make sure protections are in place for some sensitive tests so doctors are involved in explaining what the results mean, he said.
“We want to be sure we’re doing this in a compliant and responsible way.”

Full article quoted from http://www.bloomberg.com/news/artic...order-own-tests.
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  #3   ^
Old Fri, May-01-15, 18:13
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aj_cohn aj_cohn is offline
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Even when you can order your own tests, the issue becomes how to get appropriate treatment that the results warrant. As Neanderpam and others can attest, getting proper care for Hashimoto's/Graves is nearly impossible from MSM doc.s, because (a) they haven't been trained to accept the results of truly useful tests and (b) the entire profession is under the thumb of big pharma.
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  #4   ^
Old Sat, May-02-15, 06:06
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JEY100 JEY100 is offline
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Default

Another issue, but when receive my results, I share them only with whom I choose, make appointments with a specialist if needed, make all copies as needed and control those records.

I have used DirectLabs almost four years, always save money over doctor's offices even with insurance, my on-line account has all my blood work on file, I choose what tests, when and even "buy ahead" if a special...this month CBC +CMP is $29. I have the blood drawn/lab work completed at the same LabCorp lab (whose employee is the best veni-puncture nurse ever had, never a mark) with results in my account in 24 hours. DirectLabs is so good I can't see how LabCorp doing it themselves would be better, but it is a huge company with advertising and pricing power to throw overboard the DTC services, and possibly reduce that aspect of healthcare costs in the US.
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Old Sat, May-02-15, 07:30
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WereBear WereBear is offline
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Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by aj_cohn
Even when you can order your own tests, the issue becomes how to get appropriate treatment that the results warrant. As Neanderpam and others can attest, getting proper care for Hashimoto's/Graves is nearly impossible from MSM doc.s, because (a) they haven't been trained to accept the results of truly useful tests and (b) the entire profession is under the thumb of big pharma.


All true, and also, THEY DON'T PAY ATTENTION TO SYMPTOMS.

You could walk in on fire, and they will look at your labs and say all your tests are "normal."

I recently watched a video by Dr. Jacob Teitelbaum, who is a pioneer in treating chronic fatigue. (He recommends low carb.) He says lab values were originally drawn from shockingly low numbers of people, and then calculated within two standard deviations. Resulting in meaningless numbers in terms of diagnosis and treatment for most people.

His example is that if he ran a shoe store that way, he'd be out of business in a week.
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  #6   ^
Old Sat, May-02-15, 07:56
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cotonpal cotonpal is online now
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I wish they would open a lab close enough to my home so that I could utilize them. 50+ miles is too long a drive.

Jean
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Old Sat, May-02-15, 12:17
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bluesinger bluesinger is offline
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Thanks so much for this. I just checked and there are many DLabs in my area and the insulin test is not expensive at all.
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  #8   ^
Old Sat, May-02-15, 13:00
JEY100's Avatar
JEY100 JEY100 is offline
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Default

Insulin and Vit D are bargains (plus there are monthly/holiday specials make them even cheaper) The comprehensive wellness package is always a deal.

Jean, you buy the tests on-line and have the "order" from DL's doctor back to your account in a few hours. Then you go to the LabCorp service center whenever it suits you on a walk-in basis. If there is a holiday sale, I may buy my next Vit D test months in advance. If you occasionally visit this town 50 miles away for other reasons, you could combine the visit for the blood draw. Once DL has your $, they don't care if/when you ever use the order
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Old Sat, May-02-15, 15:16
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inflammabl inflammabl is offline
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This thread is past due. Thank you Janet.

One thing I would request is that when people suggest specialized tests on this forum they include the LabCorp code or the CPT code.

For instance here is the "lipid panel"

LINK

Which includes:
Cholesterol, total;
high-density lipoprotein (HDL) cholesterol;
low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol (calculation);
triglycerides;
very low-density lipoprotein (VLDL) cholesterol (calculation)

So if you want someone to get their VLDL actually measured instead of calculated then suggest: Lab Corp Test Number: 120295, CPT: 83721

.... I think. I'm not sure..... THAT'S THE PROBLEM!

Asking someone to get any blood test done but without the proper CPT or LabCorp code seems helpful but it's very, very unlikely they are going to figure out how to follow the advice.
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  #10   ^
Old Sun, May-03-15, 11:18
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GRB5111 GRB5111 is offline
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Janet - Thank you for this information. I just perused the DirectLabs site, and the services provided are vast. I have an annual checkup coming up in a couple weeks where I typically go in fasted to get blood drawn at the lab in the doctor's office for an NMR blood lipid panel. Now, I can order the Mountain Dog Advanced Lipid Panel which has everything the NMR panel provides plus CRP to boot, and I can have the results for when I see my doctor instead of waiting for them after the fact! The price is very reasonable, and it's so much better to review them face-to-face. I'm contacting DirectLabs on Monday.
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Old Sun, May-03-15, 11:36
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Merpig Merpig is offline
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The prices are *way* more reasonable than getting them from a doctor, even if you have insurance! And in my case I pay $358/month for a "high deductible + HSA" plan and nothing is covered until I hit my $1600 deductible, which I generally never come close to.

The annoying thing is that I also have the option of a "high deductible"plan that actually costs NOTHING out of pocket, same deductible, same co-pays, etc. Except the $358/month plan has no cap on what it will pay for prescription meds, and the $0 plan has a $1000 cap on prescription payment above which it pays nothing.

And so far I have never come CLOSE (by even half) of hitting that $1000 number, but at the back of my mind there is always that "but what if I get ___insert dread disease___ and need expensive meds?" feeling, so I shell out each month.

But still no reason to pay BIG BUCKS for testing. Back when I had better insurance I got sent for a comprehensive blood screening once and the cost was well over $2000 for all of that, of which insurance picked up most. But I could get the same stuff from Direct Labs for a fraction. Thank goodness I now live in a state where I can order my own tests.

I used to live in NJ where it's still illegal for people to take charge of their own health and order tests, and next to NY where it's also still illegal. I tried to use Direct Labs there once but they required a home mailing address and refused to allow me to order tests as soon as they saw my NJ address.

I went with another direct provider who was a bit more expensive, but they didn't care where you lived as long as you had the blood drawn in a legal state - so I had to drive 2 1/2 hours to Connecticut to get the blood drawn, instead of 10 minutes to my nearest LabCorp facility.
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  #12   ^
Old Sun, May-03-15, 15:42
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inflammabl inflammabl is offline
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Plan: Atkins
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Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by Merpig
The prices are *way* more reasonable than getting them from a doctor, even if you have insurance!

My doctor charges just a few dollars more than LabCorp. I got a bunch of blood work done in January or so and looked into the price difference.
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Old Sun, May-03-15, 22:27
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Nicekitty Nicekitty is offline
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This is great! I found a lab 4 miles from our house, and talked my husband into going in and getting a "General Health Panel"--it is on sale this month for $29! I'm thrilled he is willing to do it, as he hates needles. The only thing not included, that I'd really like to have, is the lipid panel. Oh well, maybe it will go on sale soon. Just the time savings alone, not having to make a doctors appointment, go to the doctor, get a lab referall, yada, yada, yada, is huge. I have a background in biochemistry, so I'll have fun with the results. Now, my only question is--do they do animals also?
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Old Mon, May-04-15, 04:55
JEY100's Avatar
JEY100 JEY100 is offline
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Plan: IF Fung/LC Westman/Primal
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Maybe if he hates needles you should have the Comprehensive Wellness Profile done and get it all over with. The woman at our service center probably wouldn't bat an eye if you brought in an animal, but I don't think so (though I now wonder which company does the actual lab analysis for vets?) With a DL account, you will get the rare, occasional email offering 20% off any test, usually during a slow holiday weekend.
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Old Fri, May-22-15, 06:35
JEY100's Avatar
JEY100 JEY100 is offline
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Plan: IF Fung/LC Westman/Primal
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That rare occasional email has arrived. 20% off all tests (coupon code USA) for 4 day Memorial Day weekend, but not on monthly specials nor the big package. I buy Vit D, fasting insulin and a few others and use them later in the year, having Vit D done mid- summer and depth of winter. July Fourth may be another opportunity?

Nothing on the LabCorp site yet about offering Direct to Consumer services themselves.
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