A Diagnostics & Imaging Week

Conmed Healthcare Management (Hanover, Maryland), a provider of correctional facility healthcare services, reported that it has been awarded a three-year medical services agreement with the new Western Virginia Regional Jail (WVRJ; Salem, Virginia).

This new contract, valued at more than $5 million, is expected to generate $1.7 million per year in revenue for Conmed, and also provides for additional per diem rates as the WVRJ inmate population increases. Annual revenue rates during subsequent years are also subject to potential increases and adjustments based on the Medical Services CPI limited to a maximum of 5% per year.

"This contract fits perfectly with our target market expansion strategy, expanding our footprint in Virginia to include the western part of the state," said Dr. Richard Turner, president/CEO of Conmed. "We will now serve significant facilities in each region of Virginia and this will give us the opportunity to showcase our capabilities to other potential clients in the region."

Under the terms of the agreement, which was awarded to Conmed through WVRJ's process of competitive proposal evaluation, Conmed will provide comprehensive medical services that include staffing of nurses, physicians, and clerical personnel, dental services, mental and behavioral health services, ancillary services such as laboratory and diagnostic X-ray, as well as pharmacy services.

In addition, Conmed will provide offsite specialist and hospital services, subject to contractual limits and contingencies as set forth in the contract. As a new facility, the contract will not require evaluation or replacement of any staff. Conmed will begin staffing the facility in February, and expects to be prepared for the arrival of inmates, slated for March.

The WVRJ will have an initial inmate population of about 550 inmates, with the capacity to expand to more than 800 inmates during the term of the contract. The WVRJ was built in order to ease the current overcrowding at the existing jail facilities in the four partnering jurisdictions – the counties of Franklin, Montgomery and Roanoke plus the city of Salem.

Conmed has provided correctional healthcare services since 1984, beginning in the state of Maryland, and currently services detention centers and correctional facilities in 32 counties in six states, including Arizona, Kansas, Maryland, Oregon, Virginia, and Washington. The company's services have expanded to include mental health, pharmacy and out-of-facility healthcare services.

In other agreements/contracts:

• Sunquest Information Systems (Tucson, Arizona) and Geisinger Health System (Danville, Pennsylvania), reported significant workflow improvements through the successful implementation and integration of Sunquest's Laboratory Information Systems (LIS) and the Copan WASP: Walk-Away Specimen Processor for planting and streaking of clinical microbiology specimens.

Geisinger, Sunquest and Copan Diagnostics (Murrieta, California) worked collaboratively on this solution for transferring patient and order data from the enterprise system to the lab system and then to the WASP.

Since implementing the solution in June, Geisinger said it has achieved labor savings by automating specimen processing through the use of barcoding, robotics, and computerization.

"Geisinger is excited to be the first healthcare services provider to integrate our laboratory information system and workflow to achieve this level of automation for processing select microbiology specimens," said Paul Bourbeau, PhD, director of microbiology, Geisinger Medical Laboratories at Geisinger Medical Center.

"While these processes are commonplace in chemistry and hematology labs, this is the first time these techniques are available in a clinical microbiology lab. We anticipate additional benefits from this automation as we expand the types of specimens that are processed by the WASP."

• Response Genetics (Los Angeles), a company focused on molecular diagnostic tests for cancer, reported signing an amended and restated master service agreement with GlaxoSmithKline (London).

This agreement extends the agreement between the companies for a two-year period and names Response Genetics as preferred provider of genetic testing services to GlaxoSmithKline and its affiliated companies. In anticipation of 2009 services, GlaxoSmithKline agreed to make an up-front payment to Response Genetics of $1.3 million before the end of 2008.

"We are very pleased to continue supporting GlaxoSmithKline's clinical trial development program," said Kathleen Danenberg, Response Genetics president/CEO. "Our collaborative relationship underscores the value our service and patented technology brings to pharmaceutical partners like GlaxoSmithKline, in helping them develop new cancer-fighting therapies."

Response Genetics' patented diagnostic technology and services are also commercially available to physicians through the company's ResponseDX: Lung and ResponseDX: Colon tests.

By providing information on a panel of molecular markers, these PCR-based genetic tests can help physicians with therapeutic treatment decisions in patients with non-small cell lung cancer and colorectal cancer.