Thursday, November 16, 2006

An Open Letter to Lab Corp. Sincerely Your Friends at Quest Diagnostics

Snake Oil Sam has been talking to some of his friends who work at Quest Diagnostics and decided that what he heard from them was worthy of writing about. So once again I write in my own satirical and sarcastic Snake Oil Sam way in order to talk about a subject that at least some people are either interested in or concerned about.

Yes, you are correct, it is United Healthcare and what is down the road for Quest Diagnostics, Lab Corporation of America and perhaps even United Healthcare. This is certainly one of the more interesting stories in the industry, especially when you consider that it has such a wide ranging impact on the lives of so many people.

It is a story which involves the health and wellbeing of everyone who depends on a medical professional to make an accurate diagnosis of potential illness. And that is just about everyone since at some point in time we will all become the victim of some germ that wants to spread joy in our life by making us sick.

So how will this situation play out between these two capable and worthy opponents? Have you ever hit a speed bump in the road? I have. But just because someone placed a speed bump in my path, even though it might have managed to slow me down a little, it sure didn’t stop me. I guess that is about as much of an analogy as is needed for this tale of woe.

The question to be asked is for whom is that woe directed? Many people seem to think that the woe might be placed upon the executives at Quest Diagnostics. But from what I am hearing that woe just might be more suitably placed at the doorstep of the Executive of Lab Corporation of America. Perhaps some of the joy of that woe of life in Corporate America will even find its way to the doorstep of the Executive of United Healthcare.

So, if I were asked by one of my friends at Quest Diagnostics to compose a letter to the Executive at Lab Corporation of America what would I say? Now some of the executives at Quest Diagnostics know that Snake Oil Sam just loves to write letters. Some of them even think that perhaps old Snake Oil writes too many letters. But what would I say? I guess that I would make it a general letter of introduction, bringing up this topic and then annoying the Executive at L.C.A. with just a little nudge about other issues. Fuel on the fire you understand.

Dear Lab Corporation of America:

I am a citizen of these United States of America and as such feel that I have the right to communicate issues of importance and interest to the people of this great nation. Since you are a business that impacts the wellbeing of people what you do and how you conduct your business is important to me.

I am concerned that you might not be as qualified to test my medical specimens as another company, Quest Diagnostics. Have you given any consideration to the matter that you might not be able to handle the logistics of the transition of the workload after the United Healthcare contract goes into effect on January 1, 2007?

I understand that many people have come to rely on the quality of service at Quest Diagnostics. Do you believe that you can do the job or will there be a change in the way I receive my current service? Quest Diagnostics has a lot of Patient Service Centers and the people there always treat me very well.

I understand that even though you have the contract with United Healthcare in 2007 that I can still direct my doctor to send my blood work to Quest Diagnostics. From what I have heard that company will even take care of all the paperwork just like they do now and it won’t cost me anything more than what my insurance company pays for the testing process. Even if it does cost me a small amount I think that my health is worth that extra cost.

So, since nothing really is changing as far as I am concerned why should I let my doctor send my blood work to Lab Corp.? It seems to me that since Quest Diagnostics has been doing such a good job, well like grandpa always said, “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.” So I guess that I will just keep sending my lab work to Quest Diagnostics.

I know that when that happens that you will have to pay for the cost of the re-direct of the work to Quest Diagnostics. I think that they call it “leakage” or something like that. Maybe it was a bad idea for you to sign a bad contract with United Healthcare. I think that you got suckered by those guys. I’ll bet that the big shots at United Healthcare are laughing at you behind your back.

But it is as they say “he who laughs last, laughs best.” And you will be able to laugh at the executives at United Healthcare in time because after Quest Diagnostics takes the $200,000,000.00 from you as per the contract you signed with United Healthcare, then United Healthcare will have to start paying for the lab work re-directs sent by doctors and patients who trust and rely on the quality and excellent reputation of Quest Diagnostics.

I understand that Quest Diagnostics expects to retain about 60 to 70 percent of the business that they currently receive under the current United Healthcare contract. Let me tell you those guys at Quest have one hell of a dedicated sales staff. It is really sad that United Healthcare decided to be so greedy because now both you, Lab Corporation of America and United Healthcare are going to be hurting.

But that is the nature of free enterprise. You try to do the best for everyone, but in the end you have to do what is right for the consumer and the only person here who tried to do the right thing for the people is the Executive at Quest Diagnostics.

On just one other topic since I have your ear sir, could you please tell me how it is that you manage to allow your drivers to take their Lab Corp. specimen fleet vehicles home and use them as personal family vehicles when they are not doing there assigned job? It isn’t like they are the sales staff. They don’t need them at all hours. How do you justify the practice? After all, you surly must write off the cost of fuel, vehicle maintenance, insurance and vehicle depreciation on your end of year tax statement.

Do you have some formula for calculating the amount of time the vehicle is used for the business of Lab Corp. and the amount of usage of the vehicle when not used in business activities? Or do you simply fudge the books and screw the government and the American taxpayer? How is it that the Internal Revenue Service hasn’t caught onto this issue yet?

At Quest Diagnostics my friends drive specimen fleet vehicles which are only for business use. When they go home from work the fleet vehicle stays at the Quest Diagnostics facility. I can’t imagine that you are giving the government and taxpayer a fair shake. But I might be wrong.

At Quest Diagnostics the people do everything based on a simple concept that makes doing things really easy. It is called integrity. As a matter of fact my friends at Quest Diagnostics tell me that “Integrity Is the Bottom Line.” How do you folks at Lab Corporation of America operate your business?

One more thing before I wish you a good day. Who is your favorite rocker? Mine is Bruce. You know who I mean, “The Boss!” “Born to Run” is one of my all time favorite songs. My favorite line in the song, “Wendy, I want to be your friend; I want to guard your dreams and visions.” O.K. that last comment might be just a little bit to inside for this submission, but the person for whom it was intended gets it.

Snake Oil Sam
Snake Oil Sam Internet Media Publishing © 2006

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