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Laboratory testing under managed care dominance in the USA
  1. Y Takemura,
  2. J R Beck
  1. Pathology and Information Technology Programme, Baylor College of Medicine, One Baylor Plaza, Room 126E, Texas Medical Centre, Houston, Texas 77030–3498, USA
  1. Dr Takemura, Department of Laboratory Medicine, National Defense Medical College, 3–2 Namiki, Tokorozawa, Saitama 359–8513, Japan yutakemu{at}


The uncontrolled escalation of total health care expenditure despite the government's endeavours during the past decades in the USA had led to the rapid infiltration of managed care organisations (MCOs). Traditional hospital based laboratories have been placed in a crucial situation with the advent of the managed care era. A massive reduction of in house testing urged them to develop strategies against financial difficulty. Consolidation and networking, participation in the outreach testing market, and emphasis on point of care/satellite laboratory testing in non-traditional, ambulatory settings are major strategies for the survival of hospital laboratories. Several physicians' office laboratories (POLS) have closed their doors in response both to regulatory restrictions imposed by the Clinical Laboratory Improvement Amendments of 1988 and to managed care infiltration. It seems likely that POLs and hospital laboratories will continue to reduce test volumes, whereas commercial reference laboratories will thrive through contracting with MCOs. In the current climate of managed care dominance in the USA, clinical laboratories are changing their basic operation focus and mission in response to the aggressively changing landscape.

  • laboratory testing
  • managed care organisations
  • survival strategies
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