Capitol Hill Briefing on Value of Clinical Laboratory Testing

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WASHINGTON, Feb. 4, 2013 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- The foundation for 70% of physician decision-making, clinical laboratory tests are one of the most critical elements in preventing chronic illness, curtailing epidemics, and improving cancer care.

At the same time, clinical lab tests are making the U.S. health care delivery system more cost-effective.

On February 11, Kenneth Sisco, MD, Ph.D., medical director of Quest Diagnostics, will explore this topic at a Capitol Hill briefing for Congressional staff, members of the House and Senate, health care and patient organizations, and the news media in the visitors center of the U.S. Capitol building. The briefing is sponsored by "Results for Life," the educational arm of the American Clinical Laboratory Association (ACLA).

At the briefing, "Clinical Laboratory Testing: Providing Critical Evidence for Diagnosis and Treatment," Dr. Sisco will explain what clinical laboratory tests are and why they are so crucial to improving patient health and utilization of health care resources.

Alan Mertz, ACLA President, will discuss health policy issues before Congress and federal agencies that could affect innovation and the availability of clinical laboratory testing.

Here are some examples that are expected to be discussed at the briefing:

Clinical lab tests are essential to curtailing chronic disease, which accounts for 75% of all health care costs in the U.S. For example, the hemoglobin A1c test can diagnose diabetes in early stages when people can take steps to prevent or delay full-blown diabetes. The test costs about $13.50 - as opposed to $27,000 for an amputation or the $28,000 for a heart attack that can result from complications of diabetes. Clinical lab testing and HIV drugs have dramatically reduced HIV deaths by enabling physicians to decide the best drug treatment and dosage for the individual. Genetic tests that target treatment to the genetic fingerprint of the individual are opening up new vistas in cancer care. For 40% of patients with metastatic colorectal cancer, standard cancer drugs will not work because patients have a genetic mutation called KRAS. A genetic test can identify this mutation, allowing physicians to avoid the drugs that will not help such patients and that have serious and painful side effects. Patients can get started on a more effective therapy sooner. The projected savings by avoiding the use of this drug in patients who wouldn't benefit from it range from $100 million to $600 million per year, according to two studies. The briefing will begin at noon ET in the U.S. Capitol Visitors Center, Congressional Meeting Room North, East Capitol Street NE & First Street. RSVP's are essential. Members of the media should contact: sgeibel@acla.com, or (202) 637-9466 by noon on Fri., Feb. 8. The American Clinical Laboratory Association is a non-profit group representing the nation's clinical laboratories. Results for Life, the group's educational campaign, focuses on the value of laboratory medicine. See www.labresultsforlife.org
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Source: YellowBrix

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