Pathology Today
Dec. 23, 2014

Scientists identify 'high-priority' chemicals that may cause breast cancer
Medical News Today
From May 14: An estimated 12.4 percent of women born in the U.S. today will develop breast cancer at some point during their lives. Past research has indicated that exposure to some chemicals may increase the risk of breast cancer. Now, a new study has identified 17 "high-priority" chemicals women should avoid in order to reduce such risk and demonstrates how their presence can be detected.More

Blood test may spot pancreatic cancer earlier
HealthDay via U.S. News & World Report
From May 28: Researchers report that a new blood test could help doctors find pancreatic cancer at an earlier stage, potentially improving a patient's chances of survival. A set of four "markers" — or signs — in the blood identified cases of pancreatic cancer nine out of 10 times, sorting malignancies from other diseases like chronic pancreatitis or pancreatic cysts.More

OIG issues fraud alert for physician-lab relationships
By Jessica Belle
From July 9: The Department of Health and Human Services Office of the Inspector General recently issued a special fraud alert that singles out the laboratory-referring physician relationship for its focused attention. The OIG has repeatedly emphasized that a lab providing free or below-market goods or services to a physician who is a source of referrals, or paying a physician more than fair market value for his or her services, could constitute illegal remuneration under the federal anti-kickback statute. In light of this special fraud alert, physicians and laboratories should review their compensation arrangements.More

A fast-growing medical lab tests anti-kickback law
The Wall Street Journal
From Sept. 17: A fast-growing Virginia laboratory has collected hundreds of millions of dollars from Medicare while using a strategy that is now under regulatory scrutiny: It paid doctors who sent it patients' blood for testing. Health Diagnostic Laboratory Inc. transformed itself from a startup incorporated in late 2008 into a major lab with $383 million in 2013 revenues, 41 percent of that from Medicare.More

Whistleblower lawsuits at US clinical pathology laboratories are rising
Dark Daily
From Nov. 26: Whistleblower activity across the medical laboratory industry seems to be increasing. This can be both a positive and a negative trend for pathologists and clinical laboratory managers. On the positive side, a whistleblower lawsuit that is joined by the U.S. Department of Justice and state attorney generals is one way to curb the illegal marketing and business practices of those medical lab companies willing to gain a competitive market advantage by pushing their interpretation of federal and state laws beyond legal limits.More

A junior doctor's salary
The Atlantic
From Aug. 20: Doctors are spending more and more time in residency and fellowship programs — sometimes up to a decade — but their salaries during those years (accounting for inflation) haven't increased in 40 years. Factoring in time spent in school and residency, one study from economists at Yale recently found that the average female primary care physician would have made more money over the course of her career had she been a physician assistant.More

Jury finds oncologist negligent for withholding crucial information from pathologist
The Pathology Blawg
From Aug. 6: A Massachusetts jury found an oncologist was negligent when he failed to provide pertinent clinical information to a hematopathologist that may have prevented an erroneous diagnosis of non-Hodgkin lymphoma in a patient who subsequently died from treatment complications.More

Study shows 3rd gene as indicator for breast cancer
The New York Times
From Aug. 20: Mutations in a gene called PALB2 raise the risk of breast cancer in women by almost as much as mutations in BRCA1 and BRCA2, the infamous genes implicated in most inherited cases of the disease, a team of researchers reported. Previous data had indicated that mutations in PALB2 were linked to breast cancer, and many genetic tests already screen for them. But it had not been clear to what extent these mutations raised a carrier's odds of developing the disease.More

Palmetto GBA defining pathology Medicare fraud with new standards
The Pathology Blawg
From June 11: Palmetto GBA, the Medicare Administrative Contractor for Jursidiction 11 (the Carolinas and Virginias), is taking the rather extraordinary step of defining, using an evidence-based approach, the standards by which certain specimens should be pathologically evaluated. By doing this, Palmetto is placing itself at the forefront of combating Medicare fraud by pathologists and in-office laboratory owners.More

UnitedHealthcare delays Lab Benefit Management Program; Forensic pathologist Dr. Norman Thiersch resigns
Pathology Blawg
From Oct. 15: The Laboratory Benefit Management Program appears to be very cumbersome and will require physicians to notify BeaconLBS before ordering certain laboratory tests, including anatomic pathology. Participating laboratories must verify Beacon has been notified before performing any of the tests on the 82-test list, or else risk not being reimbursed for the test(s).More