A Medical Device Daily

Laboratory Corporation of America Holdings (LabCorp; Burlington, North Carolina) yesterday reported that it will no longer be a contracted laboratory provider for Aetna, effective July 1.

“We are disappointed with Aetna’s decision, but we are confident in our strategy for profitable growth,” said David King, CEO of LabCorp. “Aetna has been a valued partner of ours for many years, and our recent expansion in their core Northeast markets means that we will be able to continue serving Aetna physicians and patients. We regret that we will do so as an out-of-network provider.”

As a result of the contract termination, LabCorp estimated that its 2007 EPS will be reduced by 4 cents to 12 cents.

“We remain focused on our strategic plan, a key component of which is expanding our managed care relationships and providing physicians and their patients with the nation’s most efficient, highest quality, and most advanced laboratory diagnostics,” King said.

LabCorp commercializes diagnostic technologies offering clinical assays ranging from routine blood analyses to HIV and genomic testing.

In other contract news:

The Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology (ONC) of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services reported a one-year, $800,000 contract with the Foundation of Research and Education (FORE) of the American Health Information Management Association (AHIMA) to foster collaboration among the state in health information exchange (HIE) to identify and share emerging best practices. The contract period begins this month.

“Rising healthcare costs amplify our need to identify successful practices that enable sustainable and secure health information exchange at a state level,” said Robert Koldner, MD, ONC interim national coordinator. He said the effort “brings together state and regional health information exchange leaders from across the country.”

The project will identify governance models that include defined operations, resources and finances to generate, support and amplify health information exchange. Shared results and recommended guidance are intended to support health information exchange across the country.

During this past year, HHS contracted with FORE to provide guidance tools for state-level HIE organizations. The steering committee of state leaders in HIE has produced recommendations to define opportunities for Medicaid, realize short-term financial sustainability, and coordinate quality and HIE initiatives.

Novation (Irving Texas) reported new contracts with suppliers of picture archiving and communications systems (PACS).

It has awarded a three-year pact, effective May 1, to DR Systems (San Diego), giving Novation members the ability to utilize an offering of lease-to-purchase or flexible capital-purchase plans, discounts, and Imaging Center packages.

The DR Systems RIS/PACS includes advanced features such as Web-based scheduling, document scanning printing and faxing, voice recognition, dictation, transcription, management reports, advanced image processing, Web-based image report and audio clip distribution. The company’s solutions also offer archiving, digital mammography, pathology, cardiology tools, output to billing systems and services, and EMR integration.

Under a new three-year contract, Novation also offer the PACS system from Eastman Kodak Health Group (Rochester, New York) to hospitals, out-patient imaging centers and other healthcare providers across the U.S. The agreement is effective May 1 and ends April 30, 2010 — with two one-year extension options.

In addition to this contract, Kodak has agreements with Novation to provide CR and DR systems, radiographic films, laser media, laser imaging systems and services.

Kodak’s PACS and storage management solutions are deployed at hundreds of healthcare facilities around the world. Its image and information management solutions includes its Carestream RIS/PACS suite, along with Carestream Information Management Solutions that deliver enterprise-wide management and storage of clinical and non-clinical data and images.

Novation bills itself as the largest group purchasing organization in the U.S. serving members of VHA, University HealthSystem Consortium (UHC) and HPPI in all 50 states.

Premier Purchasing Partners (Charlotte, North Carolina) reported making awards for surgical instrument service and repair to Cardinal Health 200 (McGaw Park, Illinois); Mobile Instrument Service and Repair (Bellefontaine, Ohio); Total Repair Express (Hillsborough, New Jersey); Integrated Medical Systems (Birmingham, Alabama); and Spectrum Surgical Instruments (Stow, Ohio).

These 36-month agreements, effective Feb. 1, offer discounted pricing for surgical instrument service and repair to acute care and continuum-of-care members of the Premier alliance.