Friday, January 05, 2007

Will New Jersey Law Kick Lab Corporation of America In The Teeth?

From what Snake has been hearing while slithering around inside the walls of some legal department offices it sounds like the state of New Jersey has been kind enough to write laws in the interest of the medical consumer. And it also seems that the legal beagles at Quest Diagnostics have been doing their homework in extracting important wording related to those consumer laws.

Well, if I don’t have all of the details exactly right don’t blame me. It is really hard hearing what is being said when you are listening through concrete walls. But anyway, it sounds like New Jersey medical professionals are about to receive some very welcome news that they will be able to send lab work to “any diagnostic lab” which they choose to utilize and it will not be considered “out-of-network.”

That is the part of the title of this article which equates to a kick in the teeth. And that is not only the teeth of the executives of Lab Corporation of America but the teeth of the executives of United Healthcare as well. This has clearly, as I have predicted, become a real pissing match between Quest Diagnostics and United Healthcare.

I believe that the medical professionals of New Jersey are going to be very grateful to learn that with the backing of state law that it will be they, and not some suit at an H.M.O. who will be able to decide what is best for their individual patients.

Perhaps it is now time that the entire medical community takes this as a wake up call and put the state legislators of their respective states on notice that they will not have political lobbyists and lawyers tell them how to run their private medical practice.

After all, it is the individual doctor who answers to the patient. Isn’t it therefore his or her right as a medical professional to make such important decisions about patient care?

In New Jersey it looks as though it is the doctors who will be able to make the decision about who will test the medical specimens which they collect. Should not every single medical professional in America have that same option? Yet some doctors will face the threat of financial reprisal from companies like United Healthcare in example, if they dare to go out-of-network and refuse to tow-the-line.

What right does any H.M.O. have to do such a thing as make threats of financial reprisal? That sounds to me like the sort of tactics which were used in the past by corrupt unions. It sounds like the sort of thing that can easily fall under federal racketeering statutes. But what do I know I’m not a lawyer.

If in fact New Jersey law permits a doctor or medical facility to send lab work out-of-network and still have it billable to the H.M.O. as an in-network referral then it appears to be that case that the insured will not have to pay anything beyond the United Healthcare in-network contract terms to have specimens tested by Quest Diagnostics or any other licensed and qualified laboratory.

And that seems to be why United Healthcare wrote an article into the contract with Lab Corporation of America requiring them to protect United Healthcare with a $200,000,000.00 leakage clause.

Quest Diagnostics appears to be going to great expense to determine what rights the medical professional has as it relates to this important issue. They do it for a number of reasons. One of those reasons, an important reason is that they believe that choice in care and choice in choosing a diagnostic laboratory is a doctors right!

Well, that is the opinion of Snake Oil Sam anyway. These are just some things which I see as a high likelihood of hitting the presses soon. Don’t bank on my words. Use your own good judgment and remember this is a free society. Always do and say what you think is best for yourself. But always think about the other guy as well. One hand to man, one hand to God.

And if ever you should write anything to me in the U.S. mail remember to say something nice about our President. When he reads your mail it will make him feel good.

I extend my apologies to anyone at Quest Diagnostics for whom I may be creating a political crisis. But as Meatloaf once said, “God damn it daddy, you know I love you! But you have a hell of a lot to learn about ROCK AND ROLL.”
Snake Oil Sam
Snake Oil Sam Internet Media Publishing © 2007

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