Laboratory Medicine Update - October 11, 2007

University of Virginia Health System

Medical Laboratories

"Quality You Expect, Service You Deserve"

LABORATORY MEDICINE UPDATE

October 11, 2007

Phlebotomy and blood processing services for clinical investigation at UVA

Phlebotomy services are available on a fee-for-service basis through the Medical Center Medical Laboratories at the following sites:  PCC 1st Floor, Barringer 3rd Floor, 415 Fontaine 2nd Floor, and Northridge 1st Floor.  The phlebotomists will collect specimens but cannot accept responsibility for specimen processing or transport unless the specimen is being sent to the Medical Center Medical Laboratories.  The cost of this service should be included in the planning of the study budget.  Phlebotomy services are also available through the GCRC for protocols that have been approved for support by the GCRC.  Investigators who choose to do their own phlebotomy in non-patient care areas must register with the Institutional Biosafety Committee.

Specimen Handling, Storage and Shipping:  Specimens that require special handling or will be sent to laboratories other than the Medical Center Medical Laboratories for testing can be processed in the Biorepository and Tissue Research Facility (BTRF).  This service is provided on a fee-for-service basis. Investigators wishing to use this service should contact the Biorepository Manager, Craig Rumpel [E-mail: <crumpel@virginia.edu> Phone: (434)982-6453] to determine the cost of the anticipated service and to make the appropriate arrangements. In some instances the BTRF may be able to arrange for sample pick-up.  Investigators who choose to process and ship their own specimens must register with the Institutional Biosafety Committee.

 

Routine HPV Testing

Recent data suggest that in women age 30 and older, HPV testing in conjunction with a PAP test has been shown to be a valuable tool in screening for cervical cancer.  Please be aware that many insurance companies will not cover such screening HPV testing for their patients. While it is the patient's responsibility to know their coverage limitations, it is a good idea as care givers to tell our patients that there is a chance that this testing will not be covered and that they will be billed in the event that their insurance does not pay.

Most insurance companies will cover the cost of reflex HPV testing in response to an "atypical" or equivocal Pap test result.


First Time Medicare Physicals

Medicare has been offering a "welcome to Medicare" physical for all of it new beneficiaries that are enrolled in Medicare Part B. This new benefit began for all new beneficiaries after January 1, 2005. Beneficiaries can only take advantage of this one-time within their first six months of Medicare Part B coverage.

What is covered as part of this comprehensive physical????

  • 1. Review of medical and social history with attention to modifiable risk factors.
  • 2. Review of potential risk factors for depression.
  • 3. Review of functional ability and level of safety.
  • 4. Examination that includes height, weight, blood pressure and visual acuity.
  • 5. Performance of an electrocardiogram (EKG) and interpretation.
  • 6. Education, counseling and referral based on results of the above review.
  • 7. Education, counseling and referral, including a written plan such as a checklist for obtaining the appropriate screening and/or other Medicare Part B preventive services.

What is not covered as part of this physical????

The reimbursement for this benefit does not include any clinical laboratory test. Any testing that is submitted as part of this routine exam will be the responsibility of the patient.

What does this mean as a provider????

When submitting laboratory testing for a Medicare patient during the "Welcome to Medicare" physical or during any other visit please be sure to submit diagnosis codes that support the testing requested.