Pathology Today
Jan. 8, 2015

UnitedHealthcare pushes back start date for making claims-payment decisions
Dark Daily
Physicians, pathologists, and clinical laboratories in Florida got a late Christmas present. UnitedHealthcare postponed the date when its medical laboratory benefit-management pilot program in Florida, administered by BeaconLBS, would affect claims payments. This was welcome news, because, beginning Jan. 1, if physicians serving UHC patients had failed to use the BeaconLBS system to obtain pre-notification or pre-authorization for 82 medical laboratory tests, the physicians or labs performing the tests would not be paid by UHC—nor could clinical labs and pathology groups in the UHC provider network bill patients for these tests. More

Watching and waiting for codes and fees
Genetic Engineering & Biotechnology News
Clinical laboratories will be watching and waiting in the new year for the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) to resolve several unsettled issues concerning fees for molecular pathology tests, as well as coding for drug-screening tests. CMS approved 21 new codes for advanced genomic studies such as exome sequencing and whole genome sequencing, as well as a range of hereditary and cancer/somatic mutation genetic panels.More

FDA outlines ways to assess analytical, clinical performance of NGS ahead of February workshop
The US Food and Drug Administration is considering a standards-based approach for assessing the analytical performance of next-generation sequencing diagnostic tests and using centralized curated databases to evaluate their clinical performance, according to a recent paper published by the agency. The preliminary discussion paper, posted on the FDA's website, outlines possible ways the agency might regulate NGS tests in the future and provides discussion points for a one-day public workshop entitled "Optimizing FDA's Regulatory Oversight of Next Generation Sequencing Diagnostic Tests" that the FDA will hold at the National Institutes of Health campus in Bethesda, Md., on February 20.More

End of cancer genome project prompts rethink of research strategy
Scientific American
A mammoth U.S. effort to genetically profile 10,000 tumors has officially come to an end. Started in 2006 as a U.S. $100-million pilot, The Cancer Genome Atlas is now the biggest component of the International Cancer Genome Consortium, a collaboration of scientists from 16 nations that has discovered nearly 10 million cancer-related mutations. The question is what to do next. More

1-year program trains medical laboratory scientists
Times Record News
A precise choreography of specialties often determines the outcome of patient care at United Regional Health Care System, most of them seen throughout the process including doctors, nurses, a variety of therapists, radiology and the list goes on. The type of treatment or course of action for some disease processes is often based on the findings of a highly trained group of professionals who look for the proverbial needle in the haystack — medical laboratory scientists, more commonly called medical technologists. What makes the career field at United Regional unique is most of them were trained in the Texas hospital's one-year program.More

Study: Breast cancer risk for women with atypical hyperplasia greater than previously thought
News Medical
Women with atypical hyperplasia of the breast have a higher risk of developing breast cancer than previously thought, a Mayo Clinic study has found. Results of the study appear in a special report on breast cancer in the New England Journal of Medicine. More

Healthcare spending may reach $10,000 per person this year
Fierce Health Finance
The year 2015 may be the time where healthcare spending in the United States reaches a specific milestone: $10,000 per person. The National Healthcare Expenditure may reach $3.2 trillion this year, according to Forbes magazine. Based on a population of 320 million Americans, that would mean spending $10,000 per person. That number may be reached despite the fact that the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services reported healthcare spending in 2013 was the lowest on record, with an increase of 3.6 percent.More

Doctors face huge Medicare and Medicaid pay cut in 2015
If you thought it was getting increasingly difficult for Medicare and Medicaid patients to see a doctor, you're right — and that problem may get even worse in 2015. Doctors who still accept Medicare patients could see an average reduction of 21.2 percent in Medicare reimbursement rates, according the Department of Health and Human Services. And a new Urban Institute study claims primary care physicians who still take Medicaid patients could see an average reduction of 42.8 percent.More

Blood test for prostate cancer investigated
Vanderbilt University Medical Center via ScienceDaily
A method for detecting 'cell-free' tumor DNA in the bloodstream has been developed by scientists who believe that the technique will be transformative in providing improved cancer diagnostics that can both predict treatment outcomes and monitor patient responses to therapy. More