Tuesday, December 12, 2006

Is There Bad Blood between United Healthcare and Quest Diagnostics?

Quest Diagnostics, the laboratory of choice for millions of people, is no stranger to blood. After all, it is a fluid which they examine in laboratory tests 365 days a year. But from what I have been hearing it seems that some of that blood might be bad blood. I am talking not about medical specimens but rather about the bad blood which seems to have been produced by the failure of United Healthcare to force terms upon Quest Diagnostics which that company found to be unacceptable.

The result of that bad blood might have found its way into the offices of medical professionals who currently have a good business relationship with Quest Diagnostics. From what I am hearing through that infernal grapevine, representatives of United Healthcare are none to happy about the prospect of doctors going out of network with the processing of specimens after the current contract between Quest Diagnostics and United Healthcare ends beginning in 2007.

I have heard that at least some doctors if not all are being told in very stern terms that the doctors “must comply” with the terms of the contract and are absolutely not to send any work to Quest Diagnostics!

That is a sad thing to report, but if true, it just might be time for the Federal Trade Commission to look into the matter and determine if United Healthcare, its executives and or representatives have gone beyond the law in order to protect that company from any negative fallout created by the contract change to Lab Corporation of America.

It would seem to be a logical conclusion that the legal department of Quest Diagnostics is keeping a close watch on this situation and I would think that they are prepared to take any and all legal means possible in order to protect their business interests and assure that the doctors are able to conduct their individual medical practice in a way that benefits the patient.

It is a sad state of affairs when a company such as United Healthcare is able to force medical professionals to do things in the conduct of their medical practice which they may believe is not in the best interest of the patient.

I hope that it is not true that United Healthcare is attempting to acting like an eight hundred pound gorilla simply because it fears the possibility that the results of the new contract with Lab Corporation of America might just prove less than financially beneficial to them.

It still remains to be seen whether or not the service provided by Lab Corporation of America will be sufficient in order to provide the clients affected by this contract with the same level of service which had been up to this date provided by Quest Diagnostics.

Only time will tell how all of these issue will play out but it would be a good idea in my view if the Federal Trade Commission or any other federal regulatory agency with a stake in such business dealings would take a look at the issue of whether or not United Healthcare is in actual fact strong arming the medical profession in order to protect United Healthcare’s own business interests.

Snake Oil Sam
Snake Oil Sam Internet Media Publishing © 2006

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