Sunday, August 19, 2012

Rootlessness and Health Care, Part 3: Lab Work

Part 1 talks about rootlessness and access to affordable health care in general.
Part 2 talks about prescription drug prices.

Here in Part 3, the topic is access to affordable lab work. "Lab work" encompasses testing samples of any of your bodily fluids or solids: blood, urine, feces, sputum, etc. 

Patient assistance programs (sliding scale fees)

From Aurora Almendral in her article, How to Get Health Care While Uninsured (in The Billfold), I learned about Qwest Diagnostics' sliding scale program for lab work done at their facilities. Which, by the way, are distributed throughout the U.S. (and, I believe, the U.K., Mexico, and Brazil.)

It's possible other labs provide similar programs.

Shop around for labs

It's a conflict of interest for a physician to require (or imply requirement) that you get labwork done by a particular operation. This is because sometimes physicians or the organizations with which they're affiliated own a lab, so they may derive a financial benefit if you go to their preferred lab.

Call up labs and ask what they charge for the tests you've got an order for.

If the amount is scary, ask the labs if they've got a patient assistance program. Better yet, go online and look first, because the front-line staffer on the other end of the phone may not know if his/her company has such a program.


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