Quest Diagnostics acquires Mercy’s clinic based labs

Springfield Mercy President speaks out on CEO leaked email and data interface issues with Quest.
Published: Jun. 18, 2021 at 2:52 PM CDT|Updated: Jun. 18, 2021 at 9:24 PM CDT
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SPRINGFIELD (KY3) - Quest Diagnostics acquired Mercy’s clinical laboratories in Springfield.

They announced on June 1 Quest and Mercy would work with each other in a news release from Quest Diagnostics.

“Quest Diagnostics and Mercy announced that Quest has completed its previously announced acquisition of the outreach laboratory services business of Mercy in an all-cash asset transaction,” stated in the release.

According to Mercy’s president in Springfield, Craig McCoy, Mercy experienced a computer interface issue with Quest.

“We did have a computer interface issue that happened as a part of the transition. The issue was creating errors in the data files and they were crossing over,” said McCoy.

Mercy realized this issue when patients would come in to get their lab work drawn and none of their information was in the system.

“People were showing up to have their labs drawn and their orders and demographic information was not in. We would have to manually put in the patient’s information in order for their orders to be acquired,” said McCoy.

According to Mercy, another factor played a role in the rocky transition was Quest’s staffing.

Quest staffed based on the number of orders put in, but with the computer interface issue, the orders for staffing were not accurate.

“Quest does their staffing based on the orders that are in and the volume of patients that would that would be coming in. We had inaccuracy and data crossing over and it impacted several different things. For the first two or three days we had a lot of operational issues from reports that I’ve gotten back,” McCoy said.

President McCoy also shared his own experience with wait times and explained there are only 10 workers at a time working on 10 patients if the demand is there.

“I waited about 30 minutes to have my labs drawn and it was because there were a lot of people that were coming in. We run 10 phlebotomist out of this lab, so we’re drawing 10 patients at any given time. It all depends on the demand and the time that people will show up,” McCoy said.

The biggest issue in the transition overall according to Mercy, was the overall data interface issue which they said is smoothing out.

“The biggest issue with with the Quest was the data interface and that has been resolved. We are working through any other operational issues that are popping up as a part of this transition and have a full dedicated team that’s working and meeting multiple times a day,” said McCoy.

An email from Mercy’s CEO was leaked on Reddit regarding the issues with Quest.

“I am deeply disappointed that this transition has gone so poorly, and you have my commitment to stay personally involved until all issues are resolved,” said Mercy CEO Lynn Britton in the email.

“In the memo you will see the CEO explained that this did not go the way that he expected. He wanted us to know we got service results that are not what we expect within Mercy. He wanted to make it clear that this is not how we take care of our patients and that they would resolve this issue very quickly,” said McCoy.

McCoy wanted to make the reason clear on why they are partnered with Quest.

“The statistics show Quest touches about one out of every three patients in the United States in laboratory services. They have a size and scope that Mercy doesn’t have when it comes to laboratory science,” said McCoy.

According to McCoy, this transition was because of good service at a low cost.

“Quest is able to do lab based testing at a lower cost. Our focus is on how do we get the best service at the lowest cost for our patients. So it’s driving quality, on the same time reducing costs,” said McCoy.

According to Mercy, the reason behind this transaction with Quest is to do more risk-based contracting.

“Part of what we’re doing with our payers is we’re doing more of risk based contracting. This is how we help them control the costs of patients and that’s the whole reason behind this transaction,” said McCoy.

Here is a copy of the original e-mail from the Mercy CEO that was leaked and posted to Reddit:

Mercy and Quest transaction, CEO email to staff
Mercy and Quest transaction, CEO email to staff(ky3 reddit)

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